Akron/Family – Self-Titled

Akron/Family – Self-Titled / 2005 Young God Records / 13 Tracks / http://www.younggodrecords.com / Reviewed 28 January 2005

A very sedate style of music that mixes together Radiohead, Neil Young, and David Bowie, Akron/Family begins their self-titled CD with a track that almost seems dated in its delivery. “Before and Again” is much more before than again, an anachronism that is fixed with “Suchness”. The flittering flutes of “Suchness” afford the track some atmospheric relevancy – it honestly feels as if one is outside when listening to the track. Nature is almost another instrument on this disc, and puts a spin on this disc that seemingly all Young God releases have – this self-titled disc hearkens back to the immediate (19th century) past of America. Everything seems randomly-placed on tracks like “Italy”, the disc’s breaking-point; an eight-minute epic, “Italy’s” splashy drums and chorus of singers are practically the only things that keep the track from sinking like the “Titanic”. The disc seems to be divided into tracks due to purely commercial means. Akron/Family’s output is much more of a forty or fifty minute opera, with a number of movements. When Akron/Family finally goes radio-friendly (in Running, Returning) is where I can begin to understand why the band was signed. The use of vocals, meshed with drums as instruments bolster a heavenly second set of vocals. The track leads into a delightful mandolin solo and is one of the greatest successes on this disc, their first.

A little Spartan in sounds, Akron/Family keeps up a radio-friendly groove for “Afford”, using dusky vocals and differing instruments to create an original track that still conforms to the loosest rules of cohesion. Moving back into nature-mode for their interlude, Akron/Family comes back to prominence with a brooding yet hopeful track in “Sorrow Boy”. Throughout the last year or so, I have received a number of YG albums, and it is with all honesty that Akron/Family is the first band that I was honestly impressed with. Akron/Family may be called alternative but don’t let this fool you into thinking that they are the next Matthew Sweet; rather, they are an alternative to the acceptable forms of music (much like their musical ancestors Suicide, Can, and Pere Ubu). This self-titled disc goes by much more quickly than one would think 13 longer tracks would; the musicians in Akron/Family are actually skilled enough in a group dynamic to create this album and create it in such a way that the minutes slip away as one focuses in.

Top Tracks: Shoes, Running Returning

Rating: 6.9/10