Akron Family : S/T II: The Cosmic Birth And Journey Of Shinju TNT
What a mouthful. Even the band admit that this title is bollocks. Tell you what though, it's brilliant. Let's get that out of the way. This record is brilliant. From their perfectly-layered outer-space arrangements and controlled execution comes such a heady, sloppy, delightfully reckless, dare it even be said, fun oeuvre that sees Akron/Family once again rendering their past outings irrelevant.
Their second release since the departure of original member Ryan Vanderhoof sees them doing super OK, for sure, no doubt. Their instrument-hopping ways continue to serve them well for that sense of familiar spontaneity, and their quasi-folk roots are still their obvious fallback, but it's a point they seem to revert to less and less. At the very least, they seem less and less like they need to touch base with it.
The most straightforward song on S/T II has to be the disgustingly beautiful Cast A Net, with three-part harmonies many would punch a kitten to have written, over a flowing guitar-picked pattern and not much else; it serves as an amazing respite on an album that barely needs it. The fact it's there just makes the whole effort that much more painless as a straight-through listen though.
Even the more soundscape-y efforts like Tatsuya Neon Purple Walkby flow on over you like you're asleep in a gondola in totally awesome weather, until you're jolted back awake by freak-out choral bursts and ridiculously meandering licks. Holy cow.
Best Track: Another Sky , a fuzzy jamboree what rollicks along with both its exuberance and tenderness holding hands all the way.
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In A Word: Joyous.