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Set ’Em Wild, Set ’Em Free

Akron/Family
Dead Oceans

Akron/Family has intelligently crafted an eclectic, malleable record that is not afraid to experiment — almost to an alarming level for a fairly accessible group. Their toggling between disparate genres makes Sun City Girls look like child’s play, dropping the freak from their folk flag, and in its place, introducing 11 remarkable tracks that explore every corner of cosmic American music: torch ballads to bucolic laments, country rock to atmospheric journeys, sunshine pop and grating noise. Consider this experimental music for people who don’t like experimental music. “Everyone is Guilty” offers Television-style guitar over world-informed rhythms. The almost-eight-minute “Gravelly Mountains of the Moon” is one of the most bombastic, Technicolor psychedelic anthems released since The Soft Bulletin. Then out of nowhere comes “MBF,” a self-destructive, porous membrane of sonic intensity that could fit nicely on a Wolf Eyes record. Insanity. Set ’Em Wild, Set ’Em Free is smart and psychotic, almost refreshing to a fault and showcases a band that has no comfort zone.