Akron/Family Meek Warrior

The bipolar nature of this band seems to live in the oft-neglected slash in their name. They are a band trying to reconcile many different influences, and while it may be infuriating when they try to do so, it’s never boring. The opener here, "Blessing Force” bursts out of the gate with pounding drums and an inspired chorus of the title, but it then descends into free-form saxophone madness for the last few minutes. What’s next? At least four tracks of insanely beautiful psych-tinged folk. The best of these, "Gone Beyond,” showcases the band’s pure strength, which is a lazy pace and gorgeous harmonies. But is it their real strength? Or does the love of Akron/Family come from the guessing game, as "The Rider (Dolphin Song)” again plunges us into the noisy rock territory, but here the driving nature is absolutely vibrant. At the end, when the band sing the chorus of "Love and Space” in the style of a religious mantra, it seems to be the best clue to why Akron/Family is needed: to remind us to disconnect from everything and enjoy music, no matter what form it takes. Breathe in and focus on the details as that is where God truly lies. (Young God)