Akron/Family: Sub Verses (Young God/Dead Oceans) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Akron/Family

Sub Verses

Young God/Dead Oceans

Apr 29, 2013 Issue #45 - Winter 2013 - Phoenix Bookmark and Share


The first listen to an Akron/Family album is always a thrill-you kinda have no idea what to expect. Maybe the only guarantee-and this is a pretty great one-is that it'll be a life-affirming, ecstatic mess. Sub Verses, as it turns out, continues the latest era of evolution forged with 2009's Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free (the first outing as a three-piece) and continued with 2011's Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT. With that pair of albums, the band put earlier freak folk associations to rest by exploding in all directions at once. 

The explosion continues here, infused with a bit more darkness than these guys typically conjure up-heaviness, even. Listen to "Way Up," for example, which opens with a persistent pounding worthy of vintage Swans (apropos for their work with Michael Gira) before the dudes start up the call-and-response group chanting. It's an illustration of their total disregard for genre, a position further clarified with the late addition of melodic, arppegiated synths.

The genre jumps stack up as "Until the Morning" moves along gently, built on top of a distorted melodic percussion loop, and beautifully addressing some kind of troubled relationship: "I had always wondered how you carried all that grief/I know it wasn't right to saddle you with mine." Its narrator is admitting fault-submitting to an ex-lover, a confidant, or somebody with the power to forgive for at least a night.

"Sand Talk" doesn't ask for forgiveness, all manic guitars and more tom-pounding than should fit into single measures at this tempo. Neither does "Sometimes I," the darkest tune on the album, coming off like a soft-edged Scott Walker with its creepy, swelling strings and repeated line of "Sometimes I grow tired/

Sometimes I get weary." We'll believe that when we see it. (www.akronfamily.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10



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