New Akron/Family: "Phenomena"

Photo by David Greenwald (more here)

Since hearing the surreal, fractured brilliance of Akron/Family’s debut album in 2005, I’ve considered them one of the most talented, intriguing bands in music today. On that album alone, there’s so much range: “Running, Returning” has a Radiohead-like grandeur to it (even moreso live), while other tracks just as easily turn to rootsy folk.

But as with so many great debuts, the band had almost nowhere to go but down. Last year’s Meek Warrior, while a pleasant enough slice of harmony-laden folk and (not enough) noise-rock anthems, ignored many of the things that made the band’s initial material so great – the delicacy and attention to subtle moments, the found-sound samples, the dynamic shifts from song to song. I haven’t heard upcoming full-length Love is Simple yet, but I’m not as excited about it as I was; “Phenomena,” like Meek Warrior before it, seems more concerned with the band having a good time playing music as opposed to spending hours on their laptops constructing a song. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, but this sounds like Akron/Family playing Sky Blue Sky. While I love hearing Wilco do that, it’s just not the best fit for them. We’ll see what else the album has to offer, though.

Akron/Family – “Phenomena”: mp3

(Love is Simple is due Sept. 18 on Young God)

Tracklist and album art after the jump. [Continue reading…]

01 “Love, Love, Love (Everyone)” (1:46)
02 “Ed Is A Portal” (7:30)
03 “Don’t Be Afraid, You’re Already Dead” (4:36)
04 “I’ve Got Some Friends” (3:08)
05 “Lake Song/New Ceremonial Music For Moms” (7:24)
06 “There’s So Many Colors” (8:11)
07 “Crickets” (3:58)
08 “Phenomena” (3:44)
09 “Pony’s O.G.” (5:20)
10 “Of All The Things” (7:41)
11 “Love, Love, Love 2 (Reprise)” (3:07)


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