Love Is Simple | Review

Jeff Terich |

just a bunch of really incredible moments

Brooklyn’s Akron/Family have been releasing albums steadily and frequently since their debut in 2005, with their last full-length being the diverse, polarized art rock album Meek Warrior. On that release, they partially abandoned their tribal folk rock sound for a head-spinning trip through Krautrock, psych rock, and pure noise over the course of only seven tracks. 

With third-and-a-half full-length Love is Simple, Akron/Family go from fighters to lovers, using the album’s title as an implication of the themes held therein. The album is bookended by “Love, Love, Love” and its reprise, each of which echo John Lennon’s sentiment that ‘all you need is love’ with their feelgood harmonies and sweet, easy-going rhythms. From there, however, come plucking banjos, furiously rumbling drums, group chanting, and blazing rock riffs in the epic “Ed Is a Portal.” 

Akron/Family takes another cue from the Fab Four in “Don’t Be Afraid, You’re Already Dead,” opening the song with a mellotron reminiscent of the intro to “Strawberry Fields Forever.” With that said, the band’s wild experimentation with sound and structure makes this more of a White Album than Sgt. Peppers listening experience. Though “I’ve Got Friends” opens with unsettling noises, it soon erupts into a hard rocking jam with no clear-cut delineation between chorus and verse — just a bunch of really incredible moments.
The album as a whole has a great number of these moments, from the warm, rustic guitar in “Lake Song” to the falsetto vocals in “Phenomena.” Though Love is Simple is by no means as far reaching in ambition as Meek Warrior, it succeeds in playing to the band’s strengths, leaving a near-flawless set of songs in lieu of a vastly diverse one.