The odd Hobbit-y bit aside, Akron/Family's second studio release finds the Brooklyn quartet less willing to languish within freak-folk's conceptual constraints than ever — and more eager to inhabit the frontiers of absolute musical surrealism. Opening with a thunderous, tom-tom-driven trance waltz, "Blessing Force" segues from Venusian gibberish transmission to celebratory rounds before morphing into Afro-beat psychedelia that heralds a free-form finale.
Despite this pyrotechnic bent, Meek Warrior also offers plenty of gentle moments. "Space is low," the band intones sweetly over shaker and a single strummed guitar on the first and only chorus of the overpopulation lament "No Space in This Realm," their four-part harmonic ascension opening into a nuanced orgy of hand-drumming, finger-picking, feathery flute and buttery trumpet. Imagine a latter-day Grateful Dead with even fewer limits — and even more gear.