Recording information: Barcelona, Spain (2010-2011).
The pseudonymous Spaniard behind the Akron moniker gives nothing away with his space age pop-referencing artwork and album name, but that's exactly what Voyage of Exploration is aiming at from the get-go -- a little Joe Meek, plenty of Martin Denny, some Radiophonic Workshop moves, and, thanks to song titles like "Tricorder," more than a little Star Trek as well. So if everything's telegraphed from a mile away, it's also pretty clear that Akron's having the time of his life on this short release, track for track sounding like a man in search of just the right alien fembot frug to suavely have a blast on the turntables. But while there's plenty of goofy fun like "Rabbits in Orbit" and "Robot Grind," which mixes that kind of rhythm with plenty of surf guitar, there are also some moodier moments well before the gently elegiac closer, "Funeral for Euclid": "Frog War Chant" may turn into a pretty groovy kind of battle by its end, but the opening percussion as frog croaks and distant rumblings suggests a less easy feeling; and "A Glimpse of Hell" sounds more grimly anthemic than demonic per se, a hint of militarism and fanfares lurking in the background even while the party continues on. ~ Ned Raggett