Set 'Em Wild Set 'Em FreeAlbum | Akron/Family By Jim Allen
Moving forward after founder's departure.
It's been a given from the get-go that Akron/Family are essentially unclassifiable, unless you like six or seven slash marks in your genre descriptions, but there's always been something distinctly hippie-ish about their vibe. However, the alterations in the band's sound on their first album since founder Ryan Vanderhoof's departure raises speculation that perhaps he was in fact the house hippie. The endearing pass-the-bong Grateful Dead meets Animal Collective aura of old has given way to a slightly more visceral approach here. Most elements of the band's sound remain intact: the lambent, acoustic-flavored folkie moments, the brash, prog-tinged ostinato riffs, the tribal beats and chant-like vocals, the occasional avant-jazz jams and free-form freakouts. (See what we meant about those aforementioned slash marks?) But even at its most atmospheric and reflective, Set 'Em Wild Set 'Em Free seems imbued with a bit more forward motion than previous efforts. Of course, this might have something to do with the wide array of guests who add strings, horns, and backing vocals, which opens out the sound appreciably. But however you do the math, this is surely Akron/Family's most propulsive outing to date.
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