Akron/Family's self-titled debut for Young God has its share of opaque psych-folk weirdness. After all, each of the Brooklyn band's four principal members receives a "bric-a-brac" credit next to the more conventional listings for guitar, piano, melodica, glockenspiel, and percussion, and unidentifiable noises have a way of splattering suddenly across the album's plaintive acoustics. "Part of Corey," for example, is two minutes of tape splicing and hiss before a gentle ballad rises above the wind noise. This penchant for matching squelchy electronics to analog instruments will land them immediately with a New Hippie tag, if their beards don't do it first. But the quartet isn't limited to that sound. They integrate it with an indie rock aesthetic (Flaming Lips, Palace), and songs like "Italy," "Afford," and "Before and Again" are plucky, even mostly catchy, and having that bit of structure takes Akron/Family a long, long way. It's not off-putting when the twining, weeping guitars in "Afford" suddenly start alternating with heavy reverb and field recordings of birds -- if anything, the experimentation makes the song stronger. "Lumen" is another highlight; it begins with whining cellos and shifts to a stilted British folk sound before becoming something closer to orchestral pop. "Running, Returning" is strong, too -- with its melding of animalistic percussion, layered voices, pleading melody, and hints of electronic noisemaking to the lo-fi aesthetic, it's a pretty solid primer for the record's overall feel.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus