If you currently regard yourself a fan of Akron/Family's music, then don't think you're going to instantly fall in love their new release. To say it's a departure from their last record, Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free, would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. Where previous efforts have seen the band turn out some delightfully oddball psychedelic rock, Akron Family II sees the band launch themselves into outer space creating a cosmos of noise all of their own.

Songs either fall into the category of Flaming Lips Embryonic-style spaced-out interludes or Animal Collective trying their best to both confuse you and perforate your eardrums. Either way it's intriguing stuff. This certainly isn't an album to put on in the car and sing along to whilst hurtling down the M42. In fact, the lyrics are completely obscured throughout the albums entirety. muffled beneath a sonic sludge of feedback, bass and abrasive electronic effects. But it isn't meant to be catchy and accessible; it's meant to be weird and challenging. And that will undoubtedly put a lot of listeners off.

Despite the bands obvious bravery to release such an uncompromising record, it must be said that the moments of inspired musical joy are far outnumbered by vast swathes of impenetrable fuzz and distortion. A simple, beautiful chord progression buried within the song 'Fuji II (Single Pane)', for example, may only seem brilliant in contrast to the unfathomable uniformity of chaos which preceded it.

That said, as far as pushing ones boundaries goes, this is a fairly commendable effort. Better to be a band that tries and fails with a genuinely progressive record than becoming stale and stagnant within an already familiar sound. Plus, I'm already predicting that you'll struggle to find a weirder album released this year; the equivalent of listening to King Crimson with your head submerged in the bath.

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