Akron/Family | Review
LA Alternative Weekly | Bernardo Rondeau
Meek Warrior is a brief but vivid collage of psychedelic inventionSept 23/06
The music on Akron/Family's second proper album-or third, if you count their "split" disc with Young God honcho Michael Gira's Angels of Light project-is ridiculously ecstatic. Its seven tracks map a rugged topography where volcanic streams of freeform electricity burst forth from jangling folk serenity; brass ripostes tear through the clattering chatter of chiming guitars and everyone always sings. Far bolder than the young quartet's remarkably eclectic, self-titled 2005 debut, Meek Warrior is a brief but vivid collage of psychedelic invention.
Punched-in practically mid build-up, opener "Blessing Force" is a nearly 10 minute journey through the record's various climates. Drums pulse and rumble in a fierce lockstep as riffs and noodles lock into serpentine grooves but pause as a maelstrom of voices-mumbling, murmuring and shouting-and spastic handclaps launch the track into rock god orbit before crumbling gently but suddenly into a shimmering acoustic trawl that happens upon a raucous wilderness of rampant noise and fluttering sax scrawls. Less prog bombast than run on sentence, its constant morphs seem to evince a band so ripe with ideas and sounds that it must sprint through all of them at once before inspiration fades.
Though hardly a long-distance haul, "Gone Beyond" which follows this lysergic cavalcade, takes a single, mantric refrain and slowly opens it out onto the cosmos with churning acoustic radiance. But there's still hurly-burly aplenty as "The Rider (Dolphin Song)" ups the skonk and schizoid currents and, like the more serene astral excursions of "No Space in this Realm" and closer "Love and Space" plays with choral incantations in the galactic style of Sun Ra's Arkestra. Not merely a nod to the Alabaman jazz mystic, Akron/Family's bellows of "a true spaceship/ has no destination/ only direction/ no destination" loudly speaks to their own fluid imagination.