Akron/Family, Meek Warrior

Rod Smith

By Rod Smith

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

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.

Modern psychedelia, served up both fierce and gentle.

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.