Are You Ok?: Akron/Family

May 13, 2009

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This new section is not ment to hurt or suggest that I do not like the mentioned band.  It is just to voice my opinion on some artists that once stood tall but I feel have started a downward spiral into flawed releases.  First up is the alternative psych folk band Akron/Family.

When i first heard Akron/Family it was in 2005 after the release of their self-titled full length, an impressive mix of classic psych rock with certainly some bedroom folk leanings heavily compared to Animal Collective.  Honestly what music wasn’t compared to Animal Collective then in 2005? Tracks like the “Running, Returning” and “Afford” off this self-titled remain some of their best work to date.  Even their split with Angels of Light (to which they are the backing band) was full of some really inspired jamming (“Raising the Sparks”).

Heres where things start to get iffy for me.  Meek warrior is structurally and sound wise everything the band has ever done, it just doesn’t raise the bar in any way from previous releases.  If that were the only problem i guess id have a large beef with 85% of all music but this is not so.  Songwriting has taken a turn to excess shoving in way too many ideas.  “Blessing Force” starts well enough but just gets lost in its own meandering.  Even the folk end of the album (“Gone Beyond” “Love and Space”) just falls short of anything catchy or worthwhile.  2007’s “Love is Simple” suffers from pretty much the same problems while sounding even less inspired. 

 Its hard to exactly pin point what could be going on but my guess is that while Akron/Family have always had there classic rock and jam band influences it seems to be taking its toll.  Also with so many ideas its hard to cram them all into a song and put it together coherently.  These problems coupled with not progressing musically can certainly slow a band down.  I’m not sure if im the only one that feels this way but it seems pretty glaring to me.  There is a new album out missing founding member Ryan Vanderhoof perhaps this will mark their redemption.

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