Love Is Simple | Review

Chris DeVille | Columbus Alive

Set aside that new Animal Collective record; Akron/Family has the real goods.

The parallels between the two bands are many. Both spotlight a loosely-knit group of whimsical lads that moved to New York's concrete jungle to make wild-haired concoctions of folk, noise and whatever else. Both have made some of this century's most essential music. And both continue to step consciously toward pop on their new releases while maintaining an essential weirdness that makes using the word "pop" kind of laughable. 

But where the Animals' Strawberry Jam gets bogged down in its own stickiness, Akron/Family's new Love is Simple is vibrant and exploratory and explosive. After a shockingly straightforward introductory track, "Ed Is a Portal" plays like a tribal victory lap, with bobbing guitar and vocal chants ripped from some ancient Native American peoples—or at least the Atlanta Braves. 

The rest of the record continues developing the band's traditions, with doe-eyed ballads, backwoods porch songs, a cappella choirs and furious feedback experiments competing for space, sometimes on the same track. (Try "There's So Many Colors" on for size.)
The album is an invigorating extension of last year's Meek Warrior and a promising sign for Friday's show at the Wexner Center, also featuring Greg Davis and Megafaun.