Magnet Magazine | J. Edward Keyes

the band members are not mystics but experimentalists at heart

Akron/Family is Psych/Folk, the first part of that description being like when you'd offer your sibling a lick of your ice cream cone, only to pull it away at the last second yelling "Psych!" Because the closer you get to these campfire songs, the more you realize it's fake-out. The group has trembling acoustics and the warbly, high pitched suffocating-miner vocals, but the structure is cockeyed and the cadence is off. Because they're young and have beards and live in Brooklyn, it's tempting to sew up the Family members in the same rucksack that contains Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom. But listen close and it's clear the band members are not mystics but experimentalists at heart. Akron/Family was Michael Gira's backing band on the last Angels of Light record, and the two outfits share a fondness for obtuse, open-ended songs. The banjo that opens Running, Returning may be straight from an Alabama front porch, but it's set against convulsing electronic percussion and is kicked aside at the song's halfway point as the whole piece tumbles forward into lurching post-rock. The band executes these sorts of hairpin turns throughout the record, peppering black-sky country lullabies with digital constellations. Akron/family is John Brown's body, the ghost of Tom Joad and the art-school spirit of Andy Warhol crammed into one ornate, mossy mausoleum.