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CD Review: Akron/Family

Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free (Dead Oceans)


Freak-folk campfire shenanigans. There — it's out of the way. Now let's move on, because Akron/Family are so much more than the Devendra Banhart-meets-Animal Collective comparisons they often get. This band is just as capable of making Beach Boys bungalow rock as country-fried stoner jams and textured indie spasms. Set 'Em Wild, Set' Em Free lives up to its name — there's no restraint here. Akron/Family plow head on into the disparate aesthetic that has made them critical darlings. "Everyone Is Guilty" is the unlikely offspring of !!! and Wilco, a funky disco-folk romp with a proggy breakdown and sun-saturated harmonies. "Creatures" features a programmed beat and some spotty doses of noise and soul. Then, for those looking for something a bit more traditional, there's the beautiful and pure Americana of "The Alps & Their Orange Evergreen" and "Set 'Em Free." But the chaotic outbursts, screaming guitar solos and abrupt detours are here too, on noise-infested songs like "Gravelly Mountains on the Moon" and "MBF." — Whelihan

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