Exposé Online banner

Akron/Family — Akron/Family & Angels of Light
(Young God YG30, 2005, CD)

Akron/Family — Meek Warrior
(Young God YG33, 2006, CD)

by Cesar Montesano, Published 2007-03-01

Akron/Family & Angels of Light Cover artMeek Warrior Cover artPeaceful droplets emerge to deposit us on a plane of squeezing voices gently chiding a plane of aberrant existence. There is quite a bit of hubbub about this agglomeration of miscreants and it must be due to their far-reaching attempts at varied aesthetics within the context of their recordings. I smell snatches of attempts to touch the canons of John Fahey, Big Star, John Cage, David Axelrod, Elliot Smith, and Sondre Lerche (a little too much rippage in the vocal department styling and not pulling it off very successfully, sorry, no, not at all endearing, too breathy and nasal). The stuff is decently played and certainly adventurous, yet mainly serves as fodder for the cost of being hip in the mid-2000s: being aware of New Weird America as a musical movement. Unfortunately, I found myself continually waiting for their work with the Angels of Light to lift off the ground and get really interesting, to little reward. At best it is pleasant enough, and cloying at worst. Turns out that the 2005 split-album is in reality the compositions of Michael Gira (father to Angels of Light and owner of the Young God label) for one half and then having Akron/Family backing him for the rest of the sessions, without adding much of their own personality. In comparison, their second solo effort, without Gira, Meek Warrior, is much more compelling. Punching up the gasohol quotient and out-and-out rocking is more the mode there, with a bit of mild-mannered alternative cum rockabilly with a progressive pallor; twining its branches on free jazz expressionism. The eclectics of Ornette Coleman and John Zorn come to the fore in the second half of the opening cut. After that squonking outburst, they slip into tribal-esque commune hippie jam style. Hand drums, harmonium, muted elongated horn tones, and acoustic guitar to the fore, reveals an initially sophomoric attempt at delivering mantras proper. After a few songs, though, it begins to gel and they get into a richly interwoven dirge-like trance with chanted multiple vocal parts in a rollicking tumult for a spell. Shortly therafter, they fall apart again, intensity-wise, as they felt the need to tear into an a cappella Appalachian devotional ditty for the closer, repeating "love and space" at the end of a hackneyed musing. These cats are from the sticks, it shows, nonetheless they are breaking into city living and stateside touring minstrelsy alright.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2005 releases, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Akron/Family, Angels of Light

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

G.P. Hall - Marks on the Air – This recording serves two masters. First, it presents soundscape artist G.P. Hall live on stage, and secondly, it demonstrates the binaural recording process. Binaural recording places two small...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues