Akron/Family | Review

Suite 101 | Brett Hooton

Akron/Family continues to surprise and astonish listeners

Meek Warrior |  Album Review

October 06

4/5: New York-based Akron/Family returns with a stellar sophomore effort, Meek Warrior, an album that mixes traditional and avant-garde elements.  Folk music is not often a genre that is associated with innovation and experimentation. That is why Akron/Family and their new album Meek Warrior deserve special recognition and support by those who follow traditional forms of music.

The sophomore record from this New York-based quartet represents a thoughtful, challenging musical accomplishment. Following 2005's critically-acclaimed eponymous release, this album recaptures the band's uncanny ability to seamlessly mix traditional and avant-garde elements in songs that also retain a knack for being irresistibly hum-able.

Tracks like "Gone Beyond" and "Lightning Bolt of Compassion" are indelibly catchy with their inspired combination of acoustic guitars, tireless percussion work, and unorthodox, but intoxicating vocal harmonies. In addition, the album's final track "Love and Space" captures the listener's imagination with slightly surrealistic lyrics and beautiful four-part harmonies. The melody is a fragile lullaby over what is almost a Gregorian chant of "love and space" repeated over and over again. It is a truly hypnotizing track.

The only drawback to this album comes in the form of two lengthy instrumentals. The album's first track, "Blessing Force" and later "The Rider (Dolphin Song)" show off the band's obvious musical talent and love of experimentation. However, for the traditional folk fan, these tracks may come across as too chaotic and cacophonous. And since they time in at nine and seven minutes respectively, many will probably find themselves reaching for the skip button.

Nevertheless, Akron/Family continues to surprise and astonish listeners. Their sound is unique in the world of folk and indie music, and Meek Warrior is guaranteed to win a new legion of fans.

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