Akron/Family | Review

Time Out NY | Mike Wolf

collection of rolling drums, chants, hand claps and melody

Sept 06

Meek Warrior (Young God)

Album No. 2.5 for local quartet Akron/Family begins with "Blessing Force", a steadily morphing nine-minute collection of rolling drums, chants, hand claps and melody that lives up to its title. Further along on Meek Warrior is a seven-minute piece called "The Rider (Dolphin Song)," a howling, engaging track that well serves the avant-garde rock tradition.

Joining those are five expertly executed songs that hew faithfully to‹or you could say are shackled by‹the precepts of the freak-folk genre (which are harder to name than they are to recognize). At least a few of the tracks sound like the Animal Collective on a songwriting holiday‹you know, out in the country somewhere, clapping and chanting.

Meek Warrior is quite pleasant but doesn't seem to want to do much. In a genre where a good deal of the musical appeal lies in the desire to go far and dig deeply (or at least try to suspend time gracefully), the album is rather unambitious‹it's happy to imply various ecstatic experiences but doesn't want to engage in them. The guitar work on "Gone Beyond" is wonderful and warm; the four-way gospel vocals of "Love and Space" successfully re-create one of the group's signature live moves; "The Lightning Bolt of Compassion" is lightly pretty and‹what language is that, Portuglish? Akron/Family is clearly capable of a lot. But whatever the band's goals are for their music‹escapism, mind expansion, higher planes of beauty‹Meek Warrior comes up a little short.