Akron/Family & Angels of Light | Review | Brian Berry

beautiful, western tinged songs, befitting an evening spent in front of a campfire

Posted on 01.11.2006


What a unique treat, I found in this split album (seven tracks by Akron/Family, five by Angels of Light) released in late October of 2005. Akron/Family is an acoustically minded band from New York, yet they are not afraid to tamper with experimental or electronic elements, in their unique brand of folk. A stand out track on their half of the album is  "Moment," which in the course of five minutes transitions from free jazz experimentalist metal to down tempo, neck bobbing funk backed by in-unison harmonizing, to a jazziness not unlike Tortoise by way of a jam band, and finally dissolving into twangy, vocal dominated country backed by tambourines. The strange thing is their sound isn't jarring nor do the transitions feel out of place. No two songs sound anything remotely alike, which is a welcome attraction to this young reporter.

Angels of Light is Michael Gira, a producer, spoken word artist, and former member of avant-garde legends Swans(!). Gira uses Angels of Light as an avenue for his songwriting and acoustic guitar playing, to which he adds a revolving door of musicians on each release. In this case, Akron/Family serve as his backing band. Gira crafts beautiful, western tinged songs, befitting an evening spent in front of a campfire. Often times these dark tunes take a left turn into the territory of mild distortion and noise. With a voice and songwriting style recalling Leonard Cohen or Nick Cave,  Gira & Angels of Light make the latter half of this split worthy of repeated listens.