Akron/Family values

Three experimental psych-rockers release an explosive new record.

Innovative rock trio Akron/Family channel the power of Mount Meakan.

Image by Photo courtesy Ian McNeil/Akron/Family

Innovative rock trio Akron/Family channel the power of Mount Meakan.

by Sally Hedberg

WHAT: Akron/Family with Delicate Steve

WHEN: 8 p.m, Friday, Feb. 25

WHERE: Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S.

COST: $12 in advance/$15 at the door

In the era of Animal Collective, itâÄôs clear that certain artists tailor their psychedelia-infused rock to sound like the product of some mystical transcendent experience. And to some extent it works.

ThereâÄôs no denying that Animal Collective falls into the realm of âÄútrippyâÄù and that, love it or hate it, it does transport the listener to an otherworldly level of consciousness. But thatâÄôs precisely where the crucial difference between false gods and true musical prophets lies.

Animal Collective coasts on the possibility that maybe they holed up in a cabin beneath a Japanese volcano to invoke the most powerful musical inspiration possible. Akron/Family actually does it.

The latter, riding on the release of their fifth studio album, âÄúS/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT,âÄù is prepared to show Minneapolis exactly what that volcano taught them this Friday.

âÄúWe all felt extremely inspired when we started making this record,âÄù vocalist and guitarist Miles Seaton said. âÄúThe writing process was about connecting to that inspiration in a hyper-aware and raw, creative way.âÄù

Knowing that part of the inspiration was a product of location (a mound of explosive rock), itâÄôs clear that, besides flaunting their sci-fi novel-titling chops, on âÄúS/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNTâÄù the Brooklyn-formed trio has achieved what they set out to do.

The band has constantly reinvented its grand atmospherics since its formation in 2002, and this release is no exception. Built mainly upon juxtapositions of heavy, thumping distortions with experimental backdrops, Akron/Family manages to reshape the preconceived notion of more traditional song and album structures.

âÄúThereâÄôs millions of people putting out records,âÄù Seaton said. âÄúThereâÄôs a level of us wanting to express something that feels like itâÄôs engaging and that keeps us on the edge of our seats.âÄù

A capricious air is wholly apparent. Not unlike the unpredictable and sometimes vicious life-path of a volcano, the listener is freewheeled through their labyrinthine journey that, while sometimes characterized by dormant, acoustic musing, is at other times unsettling in its violence.

âÄúWe put ourselves without any pretensions to just be artists,âÄù Seaton said. âÄúEveryone has a different way, a kind of specific intentionality for trying to sometimes communicate on certain levels of discomfort in order to resolve the tension.âÄù

Adding to the power of this dynamic is the inherent and undisputed feel that Akron/Family does in fact operate as a cohesive family. Even if the listener wasnâÄôt aware of the oddball genesis of the record, it projects the impression of a specific time and place, and thatâÄôs because the three musicians emit a flawless solidarity to what they offer the music.

 âÄúA lot of us try and tack it to our own insular, collective unconscious,âÄù Seaton said. âÄúItâÄôs like, weâÄôre always gonna steal [expletive] from each other. I think IâÄôve just begun to realize how close we really are.âÄù

Since itâÄôs been just over a fortnight since their stunning release and the band is already winning positive reactions, itâÄôs fully evident that Akron/Family is anything but dormant from their tripped-out rock daydream.