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Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT - Dead Oceans
FILTER Grade: 78%

By Adam Conner-Simons on March 18, 2011



Don’t let the title fool you: Akron/Family’s latest is not, in fact, the prog-folk outfit’s entry into the justly maligned world of concept albums. A/F’s fifth record in six years tones down the band’s shape-shifting rustic rock, though there are still the characteristic whip-snap flips from mystical chanting to back-porch strums to splintery psych-riffs. Album opener “Silly Bears” melds jagged guitar lines and pounding rhythms with playful three-part harmonies. The songs’ ambitions often beget moments of scatterbrained complexity; the zig-zagging tempos and moods of “Another Sky” render it an exhilarating roller-coaster ride that may have one too many plunges. The trio succeeds most when it bounces around least, on reined-in acoustic meditations like “Cast a Net” and the beautifully eerie tribal-pop of “Island.” The album title’s got one thing right: Akron/Family II is certainly a journey, and one that can pay dividends if you’re willing to sift through the busyness.

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