Love Is Simple
September 18th 2007
Break out your peyote people, on record three from Akron/Family you are invited to travel down a road paved with the psychedelic blood and bones of hippie herb chiefers and the aspiring legions of rustic commune dwellers alike. What does this all mean? It means that if you love The Beta Band and Rusted Root, chances are you consider Akron/Family an amazing addition to your already stellar collection of tunes. I secretly think that the outro of Ed Is a Portal was written and performed by The Beta Band, but that The Beta Band then lost a bet to Akron/Family when they failed to inhale the dared amount of Nitrous. If John Cusack would have told Jack Black to watch the reaction of his Wicker Park shoppers as he instead turned up Don’t Be Afraid, You’re Already Dead at around second 51, indeed I submit that a phenomenon would have been born.
In fact I’ll go a step further and insist that Akron/Family derives some of their naturalistic spirit from the likes of the ultra obscure and infinitely cool Australian folk band Outback. I know I can never prove it, being that I think I own the only copy of their intrepid aboriginal hit collection Dance the Devil Away, but there is no doubt that there are micro moments of noble savagery steeped within every digital crevice of Love Is Simple. At times, particularly after I’ve Got Some Friends, I expect a folkie reprisal of the disco-tech track Cotton Eyed Joe. It could happen.
Love Is Simple approaches the soundscape from multiple angles, not all of which jive with one another. It is not that the music is bad or unimaginative; its problem is the unsuccessful use of cacophonous instrumentation fused with four part harmony. The electro-beats aren’t particularly interesting and the altruistic lyrics are at times a little too sugary. That being said, the core elements of their music are totally appealing. The collectivity of the music reminds me of eating drugs with my 10 roommates on the North Shore of Boston, spontaneously breaking out into (yes, I’ll invoke the phrase here) a drum circle and singing in whatever semblance of harmony we could muster with our THC soaked lungs. This was a good time…a long, long time ago. Nicely nostalgic, Love Is Simple shuttles me back to those perfect moments.
Akron/Family is an enjoyable band, but even more so than most, their music is limited to a very specific niche that audiences occupy. They belong in a past in which I now find it difficult to insert them. As these times are looked at in retrospect, as we sat in that black light lit New England apartment, the guy beating the pots and pans didn’t necessarily compliment the guy on bongos, and the girl with her freestyle vocal harmonies, was more an indicator of my chances of getting laid than of the cohesiveness of our communion. Don’t be mistaken, Akron/Family do not sound like a bunch of amateurs. They are professional stoners who know how to make music. The draw back is that I am convinced that the process of making their music was infinitely more enjoyable than listening to it. It is this disparity that prohibits me from entirely supporting this well crafted effort.
Akron/Family & Angels of Light Split- 2005
Meek Warrior- 2006