Meek Warrior – Akron/Family
Young God Records 33
Sometimes I think about bands like the Flaming Lips and Sonic Youth and other acts that’ve been around for 20 years, and realize that somewhere, right now, there exists a group that has just gotten together and are in the nascent stages of a massive catalogue. Yeah, it’s right silly to begin a review of Akron/Family like that, but why not? It’s my party and I’ll speculate if I wanna, because Akron/Family are destined to be something.
Meek Warrior is the band’s third release on Michael Gira’s Young God in less than two years (including a split-album with Gira’s Angels of Light, where the A/F acted, as um, the Angels of Light). And then there are the (at least) three tour-only discs they’ve issued, and a new album underway (with demos circulating on the interweb). Prolific mofos, them Akrons. I haven’t dipped into the homebrewed releases yet, but — if Meek Warrior and their other Young God work is any indication — it’ll be a real pleasure.
Akron/Family are full-service experimentalists who recognize that acoustic earthiness goes awfully well with cosmos-spanning jams. "Blessing Force," the nearly 10-minute opener, collapses totally naturally from chaotic guitar noise to a tribal handclap breakdown, the band singing the song title in rounds, before thundering full-on back into a hypnotic sludge groove, an ethno-psychedelic diversion, another obliterating peak, and then a final free-sax-abetted climax.
Nothing else on Meek Warrior has quite the same scope, but it’s all great. And, for a band that’s put out six discs worth of shit in the past two years, it’s not even self-indulgent. Meek Warrior clocks in at 35 minutes, and also features a few really lovely tunes that barely betray their inner freaks — "Gone Beyond" and the album-ending "Love and Space." Everything else is a mixed platter, like the title track, which toggles from a mysterious drone to an earnestly pleasing folk strum.
Really, it’s all a mystery, because Meek Warrior is barely predictable from one moment to the next, and each surprise is assuredly welcome. Whatever becomes of the Akron/Family (or their counterparts in Animal Collective, another ultra-prolific bunch of weirdoes using a similarly kinked formula, though without the Akrons’ accessibility) (make that "accessibility") they’re here for now, and will probably have two other albums out by the time you read this. In an age of bloggy wonders, Akron/Family are a band one can sink his teeth into.