Akron/Family | Review

by grigsby

Year end best of 50 list # Five


Did you see the picture TMT ran of one member of Akron/Family with leaves in his beard [TMT News]? That kind of ridiculousness can be a deal-breaker. But I suppose the endorsement of Michael Gira counts for a lot. Well, that and the fact that their debut record was one of the very best of the year. Things began gently enough with "Before and Again," a song that didn't really let on that it was something special until a subtle string swell underneath the titular lyric gave the song unexpected poignancy. This dramatic finish, though, was merely a teaser for the bombast in songs like "Shoes," which exploded into a four part-harmony at its conclusion, and "Suchness," with a blissed-out dream pop ending. Though these big finishes may have seemed jarring when weighed against the acoustic instrumentation that preceded them, Akron/Family's songs were strong enough to impress after the surprise wore off. Both subtle and wildly dynamic through its course, the band has shown a firm grasp on pop craftmanship and virtuosity. Not only has Akron/Family give, deference the traditions they draw from (an assortment of country/folk/blues/etc.), they have shown the joy in exploring the edges of those genres. This remarkably assured debut album has proved that Akron/Family are capable of great things, and in fact, more great things came just a few months later.