Folk-infused experimental rockers Akron/Family offer their first studio release since 2009 with “S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT.”
Fans might find this latest effort from Akron/Family to be as perplexing as the name of the album itself.
Bandmates Dana Janssen, Seth Olinsky and Miles Seaton, who supposedly recorded the album in a cabin built into a Japanese volcano, were certainly in “experiment mode” when penning lyrics for the album’s lead track, “Silly Bears.” The instrumentation of the song is, at times, reminiscent of fellow psychedelic rockers Animal Collective. The lyrics fail, though (perhaps harmful volcanic fumes are to blame):
“One silly bear said to the other silly bear/ where’d you get that honey / that honey so sweet?”
An acoustic version of “Silly Bears” can be found online and would likely be more palatable to listeners. Unfortunately for Akron/Family, the same could be said of the entire album.
Be prepared for more head-scratching lyrics on “So it Goes,” which at the outset features a vocal performance that could best be described as gibberish. The song redeems itself with an enjoyable, wailing guitar riff, however.
The fast tempo of “Another Sky” is generally impressive, thanks to the up-beat guitar work from the Portland, Ore., and New York City-based trio. The song is also fraught with the kind of seemingly irrelevant, indiscernible background instrumentation that has become an unfortunate characteristic of modern experimental music.
The album winds down on the second-to-last track, “Canopy,” which is far from uplifting. In fact, it’s downright gloomy. I suggest the “skip” button for this track.
You will need to be in a truly “experimental” mood while taking in Akron/Family’s “S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT.” If you are looking to achieve a jaunt into psychedelia, you ought to look elsewhere.