Akron/Family: "Raising The Sparks"


By Clayton Purdom | 9 January 2008

These guys are fearless. After releasing the most sprawlingly brilliant debut of this whole freak folk fiasco—and backing Michael Gira on this year's sublime Angels of Light record—Akron/Family are refusing to rest. This track, culled from the forthcoming split LP with the Angels of Light, showcases a restless band at its imaginative peak, moving stridently forward into sonic territory that seems unimaginable in light of the album they released just earlier this year.

Where that album was reserved and reflective, this track is a pulsing bit of classic riff rock. Yes, riff rock: whodathunkit that the A-Fam could fucking wail? The track opens with grandiose, flailing guitars; one pictures pre-sobriety Clapton, back when he was probably too trashed to realize he was in more than one band (Cream, Blind Faith, the Yardbirds). Akron's guitar lines defy era like a flashback, all waxing hypnotic and sweating on drums that careen forward into a manic, foot-tapping, withdrawal-suffering, thumping hallelujah recovery. I mean this literally: after two and a half minutes of conjuring the stonedest rock in the history of the medium (alternately Jefferson Airplane, the Beatles and the Who), this track goes all gospel revival, just a series of foot thumps, hand claps and shrieked group vocals. This howling exercise in exorcism lasts about a minute, and each time that it spills into a new measure it becomes more apparent how deadly serious they're taking this, how absolutely imperative it is to these guys that the sparks get raised, that demons are conjured, caught, and savagely cast off.

And despite how glorious this mess sounds, CMG reminds you kids: stay off the crack.