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Published: 2013/05/18
by Justin Jacobs

Akron/Family
Sub Verses

Dead Oceans

Exactly 4:20 into “No-Room,” the first track of Akron/Family’s seventh album Sub Verses, it finally happens. That’s the moment when all of those references to the band as “folk-influenced” or “lo-fi folk” completely fly out the window. The seven-minute opener gives us a sprawling, ascending/descending guitar riff and some ghostly harmonies to chew on before hardening into a cement wall of guitar screech that lasts for two minutes. Sure, Akron/Family isn’t for everyone; the only tag that still applies is “experimental.” Sub Verses uses musical dichotomy as a playground, pairing beauty with cacophonous squall. It often works—“Way Up” lays meandering, Animal Collective melodies over bruising percussive bombs. “Sand Talk” even features dreamy “ah-ah” vocals over a guitar spasm worthy of Lightning Bolt. But, too often, it falls flat, with majestically weird numbers that never go anywhere. With some patience, and a few skipped tracks, Sub Verses is a deliciously odd, complex album.

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