Love Is Simple

Eric Nielsen |

Akron/Family bring the goods on the new album.

 If you're a fan, it has all the right stuff to make you smile and replay tracks and sing along and breathe the deep affirmation of living and dying. The four voices in the room burst off the disc and bring your arms up from your sides to flail about, air drumming, and send you into some foreign world of ecstasy and joy. Only Akron can get away with some of these lyrics, so simple, so profound, so Buddhist and existential. It's because the music is filled with life and oceanic energy. A definite standout is Love, Love, Love Everyone which is reprised at the finale. It's this Buddhist mantra that sets the tone for the whole record: an amazing sing along. 

Don't Be Afraid You're Already Dead brings home the title of the record with a repetitive whole throated chorus of Love Is Simple. Another song you'll find yourself harmonizing to. "Don't be afraid you're already dead" they sing and welcome you to the Akron Church of Love and Beauty. They just repeat and repeat the lyrics with soaring backup vocals in such a positive Beatles (in a good way) and Flaming Lips way without any negative trappings. There are the pop references that form a part of what they do. Sometimes it sounds like Polyphonic Spree and then bursts into chaos and space with some freaky backwoods sounding voices crashing with the apex of the music, like a giant wave smashing the pacific cliffs after traveling the oceans from Japan. I use those band references in no way to scare you away from this music! 

Lake Song/New Ceremonial Music For Moms is a sacred ritual deep in a jungle on the mosquito coast or up the river Col. Kurtz is traveling. There is darkness addressed that can spook you and shake the church upside down. It's filled with crazy sounding instruments and voices that creak while the choir gives the background la la's to the temple and the tranced-out vocals moving in circles around the fire, overlaying and lapping (very similar to HIgh Mountain Tempel's newest album). A dark ceremony that you're not invited to, yet you find yourself watching, a voyeur from behind the forest wall. Soon you drift out on a Deliverance slide, twang guitar, then gently land at the slow moving edge of a stream. 

The repetitive chants and layered voices vibe a cult of gentle optimism. No preaching here, just lots of overt goodness, tinged with feedback and pleasing song structures. There are so many great guitar solo's on this record with tones of The Band, some Quicksilver Messenger Service, a touch of Bowie, and a flavor of the Dead. They're all ancient and modern at the same time. Doubled, screaming, gentle, the guitars drive. They'll ease you into gentle water, like Eno, warming your body, bringing you down from your LSD trip to gently awake you from the spell. An instance later, you'll feel a swelling sunrise of sound slap and drop you into a trough again, to bob you on the ocean like a little, little dot in the universe. 

This record has it all: vocals, lyrics, composition, message, guitars, variety. They're coming October 12th to the Troubadour in LA. This tour bypasses SD like so many great tours do, damnit. I'm driving for this show. It's a Friday, you only live once.