The first time I heard the Akron/Family was on the split album with the Angels of Light. Apart from them opening that album (which is unusual given that the label they are on is run by Angels of Light's own Michael Gira), what struck me is how they dominated the album with a bruising combination of styles.
Love is Simple is their second full length album hot on the heels of the Meek Warrior EP. The title speaks volumes about the sentiment of the album and the first track sets the tone. Love, Love, Love (Everyone) starts at a gentle pace, with the words repeated so many times you start to feel you are been given a lesson. What follows allowed me to relaxed, relieved that there is no reference to Love. Ed Is A Portal runs on from the first track, beginning with an enthusiastic chant which continues in the background as the guitars play a simple but infectious riff eventually joined by the drums but breaks down three quarters through to allow you to get your breath back. The first two songs highlight their musical approach, contrasting sounds banging against each other but never really clash.
The album does continue at an uneven pace no song is the same, yet like their live show there is a fluidity to their performances. I’ve got some friends another highlight has a lovely melody that intensifies to then suddenly stop. Disappointed that the following song Lake Song/New Ceremonial Music For Moms sounds nothing like what has just gone before, it doesn’t take long to become immersed with a tribal beat carrying you along .
What can be hard to swallow are the blatant new age lyrics, which have been present throughout their other releases. With time this can be forgiven as it seems sincere yet could also be taken as tongue in cheek. Again it this conflicting element that makes me go back for more, the ability they have to combine a nostalgic approach (obvious 1970’s American rock references) to their music without ever sounding dated. Love Is Simple can take time to appreciate but it is well worth the effort.