Akron/Family | Review | Matt Stephens

the end result is unexpectedly satisfying

August 28/06

Akron/Family:  'Love and Space'
Meek Warrior (Young God; 2006)

When I saw Akron perform last February, they opened with "Love and Space," entering from the behind the audience and singing the song (arranged as it is here, with nothing more than a four-part vocal harmony and a lone acoustic guitar) right in the middle of a pack of bemused but supportive fans. I remember assuming it to be some rustic gospel standard. While it's no great surprise to hear a band this obsessed with folk and roots music attempting a kind of devotional song, it is surprising how straightforward and unfussy it sounds, and furthermore, how much that works to its benefit.

They didn't even need to trouble with multiple verses: 'Love and
Space' is basically just a mantra, with the narrator (I'm still not nearly enough of a fan boy to be able to pick out who is singing when) begging the man upstairs to turn his heart into some sort of love mirror. A little airy-fairy, no doubt, but the end result is unexpectedly satisfying ­the harmonies are spot-on, melodically, but have a timidity that's largely alien to this kind of send-up. And coming, as it does, at the very end of Meek Warrior, an album that's often too willing to let the band follow its muse into the abyss, it's a welcome respite, and one that suggests that if Akron was more willing to pare down its sonic mindfucks on occasion, their already impressive palette may yet prove to be even wider.