Akron/Family – “Sub Verses” – [Dead Oceans]
Listening to this double vinyl triggered me to return to their
old spirited split with M. Gira’s Angels of Light. I fondly
remember that album shimmering with freedom and bursting with
choruses of voices that felt like they were tapped from the
local pub after a stunning soccer match. Add an air of hippy
trippy patchouli. The voices are still here years down the
road, although the band has dwindled to three members :
Dana Janssen, Seth Olinsky, and Miles Seaton; at least all of
’em sing. And even though they are no longer on Gira’s Young
God label, he’s still in their corner. And with good cause,
the hippy flair has wafted a bit away, and there’s a mild hint
of Animal Colective pop, (check “Way Up”) with percolating
synths and sweetened sounds but there’s still plenty of tribal
percussion (“Holy Boredom” kicks like a lost Swans’ song) and
bombastic guitar(“Sand Time”). As before, the more people
singing, and the more abandon they are singing with, the better.
If anything, I’d ask for more teeming behind the mic, and maybe
less scheming in the booth. Randall Dunn, a sainted Master Musician
of Bukkake, produced this, although rare are the ragged moments.
There’s even a red velvet rope moment on “Until the Morning” But
with Dunn on board as a bonus A/F gets Eyvind Kang for string
charts, most notably heard as the uncoiling snake in the stomach
during “Sometimes I”, that song would change insanely without Kang’s
violins. Other pals helping out include Sunn O’s O’Malley doing the
artwork and Skerik trapped on a sax slowdance in the reverb meat
freezer for “When I Was Young.” Of note, the final song (offered as
a slow soulful croon) takes the lyrics from a poem by former U.S.
Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. See what you think.