Album Review

Akron/Family – “Love Is Simple ” – [Young God Records]

Daryl Licht   9/19/2007   A Library, CD

The talented crew from the Akron/Family return with their third full-length release ???Love Is Simple???. The material on this disc seems to constitute some vague sort of ???concept album??? or, at the very least, a ???song cycle???, based on the premise contained in its title that ???Love Is Simple???. They???re not singing about ???romantic love??? in the micro, interpersonal sense (although one would suspect that they would readily acknowledge the role of such ???love??? as part of a greater, more generalized ???love???), they???re singing about ???love??? in the macro sense; about love of life, love for humanity and, by extension, love for the planet. Everything about the material on this set, from the actual lyrical content to the heavy emphasis on choral passages to the pan-genre scope of the music, is intended to evoke the spirit of communal experience and brotherhood.

Over the course of this album, the Akron/Family, once again armed with a wide array of instruments and musical influences, delivers an amazing cornucopia of sonic diversity; sometimes all in one track! For example, ???Ed Is A Portal??? begins like some kind of rural freak folk revival, complete with chorus, which builds in intensity until it morphs into a beautiful segment of acoustic-based, uptempo pop, before abruptly changing gears to conclude with 90 seconds of neo-electronica. There are two additional excellent, lengthy, and similarly scizophrenic tracks ???There???s So Many Colors??? and ???Of All The Things???; the former featuring the disc???s most straight-up ???rock??? moments, while the latter is highlighted by an incredible out-rock eruption. Still, other cuts are more focused, but equally stellar. Case in point, ???Lake Song/New Ceremonial Music For Moms???, which is a riveting dose of communal psych, dominated by steady, almost tribal, percussion, layers of primal vocalisms and ???Crickets???, a beautiful, countrified lullaby, tastefully augmented with field recordings.

Despite vibe of brotherly love that they???re obviously trying to promote with this recording, it is clear that the Akron/Family is also aware that the choatic nature of their approach may not always provide a welcoming, ???user friendly??? experience for some members of their potential audience. For example, in ???Phenomena??? they acknowledge, ???Some might think this isn???t the right sound???. Although such introspective self-awareness is wise, I would submit to you that, for the most part on ???Love Is Simple???, the Akron/Family has gotten the sound exactly right and the result is their best work to date.

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