Akron/Family | Mike Schiller

Pop Matters end of year List

Dec o5

Akron/Family, Akron/Family (Young God)

It might be a desire to return to the simpler things that has fueled the folk revival amongst the indie rockers, but nobody told Akron/Family. The Akron/Family approach to songwriting is one of building from the formless mass and adding elements to elements until a song happens. If a sound or element can be added to make the song better, it will be. As a result, we get the Family's eponymous debut, an album that features long stretches of a cappella, tinkly synth noises, rocking chairs, and thunderclaps. Sure, there are drums, guitars, and the lovely broken vocals of Ryan Vanderhoof, but it is the "other" that Akron/Family brings to the table that makes it special. "I'll Be on the Water" is bar-none the most beautiful folk song that was released this year, and very little can approach "Shoes" for fun and freedom in musical form. Michael Gira was wise in signing them to his label ‹ now he gets to be a part of the evolution of one of the few bands for whom the possibilities truly seem endless.