Akron/Family & Angels of Light

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On Akron/Family & Angels of Light, the most functional if unrelated family in Brooklyn shares disc space with Angels of Light, a band made up of Akron/Family plus Young God Records honcho Michael Gira. There's nothing weird about the pairing -- the four Akron members simply stop being fake kin for a while and join Gira for the record's final five songs -- but few would venture to say the disc itself is not weird. Which doesn't preclude it from sounding great. Step right up, says the first half, with its moments of Beatles-inspired introspection that blow up into skronk-spiced sonic freakouts. The band tempers these ("Moment" is a good example) with warm blasts of country-folk on the order of "We All Will," lest the avant-garde folk crowd feel marginalized. It's thoughtful music that, for all its psychedelic schizoid Zeppelin-inspired atmospheric tweaks, feels put together by a gang of guys bent on a singular vision for crazy perfection. Seven tracks is not enough. By the time Gira joins the party with his half of the disc, then, a listener's liable to worry that he'll undo all the rambunctious joy that's come before him. But he doesn't: opening with a respectable cover of Dylan's "I Pity the Poor Immigrant," he snaps the madcap mood with a surefooted all-country voice but preserves an essential passion. Young God disciples shrink from the freak-folk designation, but here they run little risk of encountering it. Pair Akron/Family with Angels of Light and what you get, apologies to the label-sensitive, is Grade A art rock.

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