Akron/Family have never been a band to shy away from a good aural work-out and on II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT (the band’s fifth record) it’s great to see they still haven’t lost this aesthetic.

In fact it would appear that vocalists and multi-instrumentalists Dana Janssen, Seth Olinsky, and Miles Seaton have been working their sonic-guns overtime producing a record so unapologetically upbeat and sonically askew, it can’t fail to leave the listener with a sweat on, and a head buzzing with melodies for that matter.

From the opening bars of ‘Silly Bear’ with its squealing guitars and delightful opening couplet of, “one silly bear said to the other silly bear / where did you get that honey, that honey is so sweet”, the band has never sounded so raucous whilst maintaining their genteel attire. Similarly on ‘So It Goes’, they swagger and groove like never before bringing to mind the eccentricities of latter day Flaming Lips or My Morning Jacket mashed up with The Beach Boys.

Sequenced flawlessly, songs weave into one another with a series of sonic glitches and field recordings, giving the record a unified sound and one that demands some serious attention. Art-rock records such as this often flounder when the indulgence of the artist becomes a burden to the actual song-craft, but Akron/Family seem to have struck the balance just right, where you have genre-bouncing flutters such as ‘Light Emerges’ – think Hans Zimmer meets Smog meets Animal Collective and you’re somewhere in the ballpark – you also have ‘Cast a Net’, which ditches all the avant-garde tom-foolery for refined finger-picking goodness and lush harmonies. It all makes for a joyous listen and one that keeps revealing more and more with every cosmic spin.

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