AKRON/FAMILY – Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free (2009)

Akron/Family - Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free One thing about Akron/Family’s latest album is that you’re never at a loss for musical diversity when it’s playing. Many bands can run the musical gamut, but here, Akron/Family feel like they own it. Whereas their previous album were more moderate in their occasional indulgence of material that fell outside the freak-folk realm, the band show no such restraint here, and it’s gloriously wonderful. You want seismic tribal undulations? Check. Worldbeat pop stylings? Check. Krautrock pysch-outs? Check. Pastoral folk musings? Check. Explosive noise that threatens to turn itself into death metal? Check. And no, I’m not describing an Estradasphere album here, in case you were wondering. All this and more can be found on Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free, an album whose sound could possibly be replicated in an alternate dimension if you payed Animal Collective’s Feels, Devendra Banhart’s Cripple Crow, Circle’s Argont and The Dirty Projectors’ The Glad Fact in four stereos, Zaireeka-style.

Like many people, I came into contact with Akron/Family due to their association with all things Michael Gira (Young God Records, The Angels of Light, etc.), and while their music was enjoyable, it was never something I seemed to carry any more than a cursory interest in. But Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free is an album that’s so chock full of unhinged energy and boundless musical joy that it’s hard (for me, at least) to be anything less than devoted to it. I write this knowing full well that I possess an almost frightening affinity for music that’s warped and atypical, so if you’re not a fan of songs which defy categorization (or, for that matter, if you don’t know who Estradasphere are), you might want to consider these words with more than a few grains of salt.

Despite this, however, I think many people could still enjoy Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free on varying levels. It’s the kind of album that everyone could find a few things about it that they like, and then run with them (doing what they will with the rest). Are you one of those people? Well, there’s only one way to find out, now isn’t there?

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