Open letter to indie kids: I know you try to convey some sort of sentiment of cool and lyrics that are both poignant and clever, but just stop it. I have tried… I have had faith that the more I listen I will be one step closer to finding an act that may make my heart skip a beat and a tear fall down my cheek, while inspiring me to grow beard (even tho I am a woman) and move to Philly,… But I have stopped listening, cuz you are getting caught up in the ‘sound’ and ‘the look’ of your tunes and you’re missing the heart. So I give up, and so should you… I will not be listening to you for quite sometime.
Queue music: Akron /Family ‘Sub Verses’. Oh me, oh my. How I have missed these guy! It’s been a couple of years since their last release ‘The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT’ in 2011, which was quiet light in mood. Yes the ‘Cosmic’s’ re-imagining ‘<bmbz>’ in the same year too, I haven’t forgotten. But ‘Sub Verses’ is a return to their darker side and may have fans re engaged. Song by song, this album is a journey. It is incredible rich and dutifully sombre in parts. It could be a score to a beautiful film about a man lost in the Arizona with only a Tom Robbins book and a glass of whiskey to keep him alive, and he is ok with that.
It starts with ‘No Room’; a thumping rhythmical track and verges on a psychedelic, but way less passé. The following songs ‘Way up’ and ‘Until the Morning’ have reverence to a mash up of Pet Sounds vs Jane Doe, with some techie guitar playing and emotive vocal textures. ‘Holy Bordom’ is a stand out track. It has elements of grinding guitars and distorted drums, both live and programmed, and tribal raw preacher vocals that cry, “wake up wake up sisters, brothers”. Other tracks have some sneaking ye olde pop sensibilities, especially ‘When I Was Young’ sings like a blues man drunk on Motown ‘Sometimes I’ is the song most similar to Akron/ Family early recordings with considerably less bluegrass-esque instrumental arrangements. Compared to their previous releases, the production is a little more polished, but the mood is not compromised. The vision of producer Randall Dunn may be the Nigel Goodridge of this release. It is present in every track and really contributes to the overall soundscape of ‘Sub Verses’. I really enjoy this over and over, and it get’s better with every listen. I have been re-inspired. Thank you Akron/Family.
p.s. the art work is incredible!