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Akron-Family | Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free

Dead Oceans (2009)
By MICHAEL PATRICK BRADY  |  April 28, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars


Known for their anarchic live jams and percussive psych-folk, Akron/Family have shed their burly beats in favor of a more digestible, blissed-out flavor. Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free is their first album not issued by Michael Gira's Young God label — perhaps because their shift to more-traditional music no longer fit the Young God æsthetic.

The tight folk of "The River" evinces a level of focus and restraint not previously seen from Akron/Family. The band hop along a marching snare, trading lyrics with obvious joy. And everywhere you're invited to bask in the gently sun-kissed melodies. C

hirping flutes and booming horns accent "Gravelly Mountains of the Moon," a pastoral ballad that crescendos into a brilliant crush of sound. Only the blistering "MBF" betrays any evidence of the band's psych roots, with seething, aggressive blasts of noise, clattering collisions of buzzing electronics and growling guitar. It's invigorating, but it sounds crass amid the general harmony, like a single dark cloud looking to spoil an otherwise lovely outing.

At the end, the Family come together to sing "The sun will shine, and I won't hide." This is the work of artists confident enough to embrace a sound that makes them happy.

AKRON/FAMILY | Middle East upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | May 5 @ 9 pm |

Related: Caught in a jam, Akron/Family, Noise in the hood, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Michael Gira, middle East Upstairs, AKRON/FAMILY,  More more >
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