Early on S/T II: The Cosmic Birth And Journey Of Shinju TNT, Akron/Family can’t seem to help getting a bit too lost in the trivial wonders of life, including tropical vacations (“Island”), giving change to the homeless (“So It Goes”), and assorted vowel sounds (“A Aaa O A Way”). But side trips give way to purposeful escape on the tightly wiggling beats of “Another Sky,” splattered with stamping percussion and fidgety yet incisive guitar hooks. “Fuji I (Global Dub),” a savagely sweet tune about climbing a volcano, threatens to get even better until it ends with the sound of either said volcano or a microphone falling into an aquarium. But hey, what’s a great journey without a few corny off-ramp attractions?
As always, Akron/Family is fascinated with many genres and never entirely loyal to any. “Cast A Net” does proud by the band’s other close gather-rounds of vocal harmony and acoustic guitar. Conversely, “Say What You Want To” shows off A/F’s skill at detonating the folky stuff right out from under you, while not only keeping the song intact, but expanding its structure. Some of the songwriting themes go flat trying to maintain their likeable simplicity (“Light Emerges,” “Silly Bears”), but the delays and interruptions are still in the minority. It would only be cause for alarm if Akron/Family stopped occasionally bewildering its most understanding fans.