It’s A Family Affair
Like staring long enough at a Jackson Pollock painting, the self-titled combination release from Akron/Family & Angels of Light grows more impressive with each moment spent focusing on it.
Michael Gira (formerly of The Swans, and current owner of Young God records) here operates under his Angels of Light moniker. Seth Olinsky, Miles Seaton, Dana Janssen and Ryan Vanderhoof of Akron/Family solely perform the first seven tracks, and then serve as backing band for Gira on the final five.
Akron/Family’s cuts cover enough ground gracefully to raise the bar for stylistic competence. The bombastic post-punk noise on “Moment,” the insane gospel chant on “Raising The Sparks” and the folk chorus surrounded by ambient dissonance in “Future Myth” play almost without conscious recognition of their differences.
This trick is accomplished with the help of immaculate sound design and audio production. The singer on “Oceanside” (it’s tough to tell which–all four members are credited as singers and multi-instrumentalists) vulnerably coos “I’m moving to the oceanside / where the air is pure and clean” as a symphony of monotone drones spring forth in a manner befitting time-lapse footage of a plant in bloom. On “Dylan Pt. II” the whole band joins the falsetto-cracking lead for a heartbreaking call-and-response of “Found / what you’re looking for” against slowly plucked acoustic guitar until a trampling electric solo takes center stage.
Angels of Light’s contributions “The Provider,” “One For Hope” and “Mother/Father” (originally by The Swans) bring a mature, comforting sense of warmth to close this stunning album. It’s hard to predict the result of future collaborations, but this could be another Dylan and The Band in the making.