Love Is Simple | Review

Scott Lapatine |

it's easy being cheeky when you can unleash rootsy licks as an afterthought

Through seemingly constant touring and regular work with Michael Gira's Angels Of Light, the urban folkies in Brooklyn's Akron/Family are a (mostly) bearded (always) busy bunch. Which is why it's hard to believe the watch-worthy quartet's forthcoming Love Is Simple is just their second full-length release. No way that's possible … Let's recount: There's the self-titled debut, Gira backup band spot on The Angels of Light Sing (Other People), and that excellent split album with Angels (half their songs, half them playing behind Gira) – all of that appeared in 2005. Then came a seafaring backup spot for Baby Gramps on Letterman (they appeared on ANTI-'s Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys), and 2006's mini-album Meek Warrior. Okay, all set ... well, actually, they also lend one hell of a muster to Angel's forthcoming We Are Him … Now that we're pretty sure our math's correct, we finally get a listen of "Phenomena," the first taste from the Family's forthcoming LP. 

The song starts off chirpy, lonesome (vocals, acoustic guitar), but before you know it, folks you hadn't noticed in the room are rattling percussion, ringing bells, plugging in, laughing, exhaling some greens, and singing along. The lyrics are playfully profound ("some think rice is white," later "some think Christ is white," and later still "some might think this isn't the right sound"). You know, it's easy being cheeky when you can unleash rootsy licks as an afterthought or swarm into hot-to-trot guitar solos and boogie organ swells just like that. Safe to say "Phenomena" is a total doozy... 

Love Is Simple is out 09/10 on Young God (limited quantities will include a
DVD that features live footage from the last four dates of their last tour.)
The band begin a tour in Detroit this September, which ends in Portland at
the end of October, so get out there and rally 'round the Family. Below, a
sure shot candidate for cover of the year. Cotton heart? Loves it.