Posted by: Johnny Loftus on October 31, 2007 at 10:15 am

akronfamilyloveissimple.jpg
AKRON/FAMILY, Love is Simple (Young God Records, 2007)

Listen: “Love, Love, Love (Everyone)”
[audio:http://www.detour-mag.com/audio/LoveLoveLove(Everyone).mp3]

On their own records and as the backup band for former Swans creep-meister Michael Gira’s Angels of Light, Brooklyn’s Akron/Family have always been content to lay somewhere back in the shadows. But while this tack helped them dodge stock moves, the band fell short of crafting the hooks they seemed capable of. Witness them live, however, and you’ll see A/F inject their hippie hash of psych folk, Southern rock and classic pop with moments of pure, rapturous joy. It’s like a drug rug party at the commune, and you’re invited.

All of this might be why the arty ensemble decided to title their new album Love is Simple: it’s full of the same bombastic energy and sheer abandon they bring to their live show, but also teems with a melodic prowess that comes from finally embracing their inner pop muse. Songs still linger past five minutes. But A/F have finally found a purpose for their brand of aimless jams and freak-folk runarounds. The propulsive “Ed is a Portal” begins with a snarling Neil Young-esque guitar intro before evolving into a Meat Puppets-derived bridge that culminates in a breakdown of near-rap, the whole Family barking “All of the places that I have known!”, while on the mid-album gem “I’ve Got Some Friends,” a fucked-up drum machine is interrupted by acoustic shredding and further evolves into a free jazz-meets-the Beatles séance.

An older version of Akron/Family would have been showing off with all of this twitchy and holistic genre tourism. But this more taut and assured one — the Love is Simple one — is doing it for the pure joy of writing great music as a cohesive unit, elegantly showcasing the “family” aspect of their band. After years of hiding out, Akron/Family has finally reared their heads from the shadows and into the simple, lovely light. — Ryan Allen

[tags]Akron/Family, Love is Simple, Angels of Light, Michael Gira, Young God[/tags]

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