Indefinable genius expanding and contracting

By: Iman Adams

Well-known for their wide palette of eye-popping instrumentation and their indefinable sound, Akron/Family has come out with another album that is incredibly difficult to pin down. With each of the four members being multi-instrumentalists as well as vocalists, we are presented with a vast array of creative sound. Every song is a musical journey, and a unique experience, and not many bands out there can say the same thing. They bring new meaning to the word fusion, however remaining completely original. Listeners can expect a whirlwind of lyrical imagery, which doesn’t overpower the music, but instead assists the story the music tells.

The instrumental experimentation is brilliant. The different textures present in one song: from light and dreamy, to freaky, eye-rollback polyrhythm’s can be risky trying to gain a fan-base, as changing your sound so often can scare people away. Akron/Family however, knows exactly what they’re doing, what they’re expressing, and its authenticity that comes through in the music.

‘Ed is a Portal’ literally feels like you are travelling through different musical portals. At one point, there is a steady, continuous, monotonous drumbeat and guitar riff, and a couple seconds later, you’re in ‘strawberry fields forever’, and all seamlessly woven together.

‘Lake Song/New Ceremonial Music For Moms’ has an incredible organic sound which rolls into a trance-inducing climactic explosion of tribal drum beats, clapping and chanting in vocal harmony only to come down into lazy, rich bluesy slides as the clapping and chanting slow down into sanity. ‘Crickets’ which is largely folk sounding, a simple guitar melody, and a field of crickets chirping in the background and ‘Phenomena’ which starts out folksy and drops into a classic-rock-Beatle-sounding chorus. Akron/Family epically points out in ‘Phenomena’ that “some might think this isn’t the right sound.”

The album starts with ‘Love, Love, Love (Eveyone)’ and ends with a reprise of the track. The first track poses a question of “what can be done, what can we do” and concludes with “just like you did, just like you done, kid” making the listener feel a sense of accomplishment in completing this mind-bending masterpiece, and of course, for loving everyone.

There is a strong influence of 1970’s acid folk where I picked up a hint of Mark Fry as well as Tea and Symphony. Then of course, The Beatles; which seem to have an influence on lyrics as well, especially present in ‘Don’t Be Afraid, You’re Already Dead’ and ‘Love, Love, Love (Everyone)’ as well as some Bob Dylan lyrical genius in ‘Of All The Things’.

Ultimately, this album is for those who can appreciate true musicality, fusion and serious talent. Love is Simple is an intimate, earthy, relaxing and suspenseful album, not for the feint-hearted or the uneducated mainstream. It’s unpredictable, eclectic and idiosyncratic. It’s honest and pure, dynamic and enthralling. It rises above clever lyrics and catchy melodies and beckons the listener to taste something bittersweet. Psychedelic without the stigma, you’d be crazy not to open your mind to the Akron/Family.