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Boomkat Product Review:
A welcome return for Akron/Family, proffering a potent and expanded vision of open-structured cosmic rock. According to the band, the album’s canyon-straddling, star-gazing scale is inspired by the landscape-obsessed, deeply American sci-fi imaginings of Frank Herbert,“the plots within plots of Dune mirrored in many layers of sound.” This is a proper epic, make no mistake, and the band sound more fucked-up, grizzled and committed than before; at the same time they’ve evidently matured as songwriters, performers and arrangers, delivering an album light-years-ahead of their early releases on Michael Gira’s Young God. Whether or not you’re familiar with the band, opener ‘No-Room’ is a revelation: sand-blasted, sun-burnt swamp-psych of uncommon brawn and incantatory energy. They frequently bring to mind their old rivals Animal Collective - whether on poppier, harmony-stacked cuts like ‘Sand Talk’ and the marvellous ‘Way Up’ (both of which would’ve sat perfectly on Merriweather Post Pavilion), or on the collegiate drum-shamanism of ‘Holy Boredom’ and ‘Whole World Is Watching’ - but it’s a comparison that they transcend, in the end. ‘Until The Morning’ summons the kind of impassioned orch-pop essayed on Mercury Rev’s Deserter’s Songs and Flaming Lips’ Soft Bulletin, but the more risks they take, the better it gets: ‘Sometimes’ is a kind of plainsong Americana bedded on atonal string-drones and an evil sub-bass hum, and the pedal-steel-accented ‘Samurai’ and the brass-augmented ‘When I Was Young’ are emotive, complex attempts at Parks/Wilson-esque “teenage symphonies to god”. A really impressive, out-of-time set, with cover art by Stephen O’Malley.