Akron/Family : Love is Simple

Freak-folkies Akron/ Family’s third album, Love is Simple, captures all the greatness hinted at on their previous releases, and they finally deliver a masterpiece.  At times mislabeled as a Rusted Root for a new millennium with their folky-tribal-communal feel, and a band of multi-instrumentalists who don’t seem to mind to engage in the occasional drum-circle break-down, Akron/ Family is quick to shake off this limiting label with an album more akin to some of the greats from the past than to “Send Me on My Way.”

The easiest comparison for Love is Simple is to The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and its deft use of sound and occasional odd instrumentation (this is no way an endorsement that Love is Simple already be placed in that rarified air – only time will tell.)   Just as Sgt. Pepper’s reveled in squeezing beauty from odd sources, creating sound collages from abstract ideas, so Akron_Family_Love_Is_Simple.jpgdoes Love is Simple – tying together snippets of chanting before breaking down into a simple acoustic-driven tune that quickly builds it self back up into a crescendo full of sound effects and spoken words, all over the course of one song (as they do on “Ed is a Portal”). 

The album swoops and swerves, back and forth from style to style, moving from hushed almost whispered lyrics to a roaring campfire sing-a-long with a communal vibe that makes you want to turn and hug your neighbor.  The harmonizing on “Phenomena” echoes the multi-layered harmonies that the Beatles used, and the reprise of the opening “Love, Love, Love” at the end of the album reminds of the reprise of the title track from the Beatle’s masterpiece and only serves to deepen the connection between the two.

Albums that are this schizophrenic and move at the pace of Love is Simple can be overwhelming, yet Akron/ Family pull this off without suffocating the listener with noise.  They take us on a ride through their musical circus that at times can amaze us with their feats of dexterity, make us laugh with their simplicity, smile at the sound of their unbridled joy and happiness in playing music (a sound all to forgotten by most bands), and feel home with their warm communal vibe all through the course of a single album.  Many simply create music that is heard, Love is Simple creates music that comes to life in new worlds of sound.  Worlds of sound, places which you want to go.

Love is Simple is out now on Young God Records.