Akron/Family, 'Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free' (Dead Oceans)

Critical Mass
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by Jessica Suarez

Despite losing founding member Ryan Vanderhoof to a Buddhist center in the Midwest, this Brooklyn trio continues to evolve. Here they expand their primarily folky sound, importing rhythms from abroad and morphing electronic ticks and stutters into a field of chirping crickets ("Creatures"). "Last year was a hard year for a long time / This year's gonna be ours," they declare on the closing track, and over the course of the album, they prove it. "Sun Will Shine" slides from Afrobeat jam to noise breakdown to blissed-out saxophone din, even ending with variations on "Auld Lang Syne," just to emphasize that old acquaintances (and bandmates) shouldn't be forgotten.

Listen: Akron/Family, "River" (DOWNLOAD MP3)

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