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Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free

Rate It! Avg: 4.0 (350 ratings)
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Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free album cover
01
Everyone Is Guilty
5:57
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02
River
4:45
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03
Creatures
4:13
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04
The Alps & Their Orange Evergreen
3:51
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05
Set 'Em Free, Pt. 1
2:37
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06
Gravelly Mountains of the Moon
7:40
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07
Many Ghosts
4:04
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08
MBF
3:14
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09
They Will Appear
6:28
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10
Sun Will Shine (Warmth of the Sunship Version)
5:12
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11
Last Year
1:39
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Album Information

Total Tracks: 11   Total Length: 49:40

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Best of 2009.

steinamic

This album is flat-out brilliant. There was a lot of great music released in 2009, but this one stands out for me as the best album overall. From the very first song, "Everyone Is Guilty", genius pours out of this album. This song may have the most rocking moment of the year. It's followed in turn by "River", a beautiful and triumphant love song rooted in repetition but layered over with arpeggiated guitar lines and gorgeous vocals. There's not a song that disappoints, and the ebb and flow of the album work perfectly from start to finish. Get this and listen intently, you'll not be disappointed.

user avatar

Songs about a legacy

JakeR

This album really drew me in in that it echoed a lot of thoughts and emotions I felt this summer and two summers ago. River, Creatures and above all They Will Appear are the strongest songs on the album. They Will Appear is really really awesome. I generally find myself listening to the whole album from start to finish - except MBF. MBF is terrible.

user avatar

Eclectic

mbopp

I wouldn't go as far as to say they fall into the Animal Collective Category, but they are very unique, and the album has some diversity. Its certainly worth a listen.

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Akron/Family do it again!

hhjack

A wonderful follow up to 2007's Love Is Simple, Set `Em Wild, Set `Em Free traces through a lot of genres including folk, country rock, psychedelic, jazz, etc. but never does the album feel directionless. Stand out tracks include "Everyone Is Guilty," "River,""Set `Em Free," and "They Will Appear". A great companion listen with Dirty Projectors' "Bitte Orca".

user avatar

Not as good as Love is Simple, but so what

JacobB

Doesn't match "Love is Simple", but this is still well worth your time.

user avatar

I pass

joemusicman

I found this release lacking and unnecessarily noisy at times, as well as unfocused. That being said, the musicians seem capable and the vocals are listenable and at times pleasant.

user avatar

Every other song

cgy

Every other song is excellent. A few being average to my tastes. Still a 4 out of 5 and a recommended download.

user avatar

took a listen or two

abosloveland

It took me awhile to get into this one..After seeing the 3 piece in denver I wasnt sure what to expect. Everything was different: Sparce arrangments of familiar songs, newer songs not projected. Dont get me wrong, I enjoyed it, and even got to meet seth and miles who are incredibly nice, but with a mostly clueless denver scene, I am sure it had to be frustrating for the family...Back to the album: Nice anthems and nice direction change on others.My only gripe, and i had on other albums, please get rid of the drum machines...

user avatar

wait, i thought you said AKON!

ernie-c

wtf!

eMusic Features

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Icon: Michael Gira

By Philip Sherburne, Contributor

When Swans released their album The Seer in 2012, it was cause for celebration on several counts. For one thing, no one had ever expected them to return after they disbanded in 1997, so their comeback two years prior was alarming to say the least. But The Seer also marked an incredible 30 years of Swans' projects (minus the 13 that Michael Gira, the group's driving force, took off to pursue different directions with his… more »

0

Icon: Michael Gira

By Philip Sherburne, Contributor

When Swans released their album The Seer in 2012, it was cause for celebration on several counts. For one thing, no one had ever expected them to return after they disbanded in 1997, so their comeback two years prior was alarming to say the least. But The Seer also marked an incredible 30 years of Swans' projects (minus the 13 that Michael Gira, the group's driving force, took off to pursue different directions with his… more »

They Say All Music Guide

Chances are that, a couple of years from now, punters will look back at Akron/Family’s Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free as the transitional album in the band’s catalog. In 2007, lead vocalist Ryan Vanderhoof left after recording the adventurous Love Is Simple, leaving the group a trio. Seemingly undaunted, Seth Olinsky, Miles Seaton, and Dana Janssen recruited engineer and co-producer Chris Koltay, and enlisted nine other musicians to create the most far-reaching, margin-breaking set of the band’s career to date. Where Love Is Simple seemed — and was for the time — groundbreaking, Akron/Family were continuing to split themselves off from the whole post-psychedelic free folk underground and pursue something they would feel comfortable expanding toward. One song might feature acoustic balladry while another would be a full-on rock fest, while another would be a tribal workout and another might have some post-prog overtones. On Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free, the ideas are even less conceptual but more satisfying and more focused in songwriting and production. First, there’s the great cover nod to Sly’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On, though on this American flag the stitches are frayed and the field of stars has been blurred into something like a weather map representing a tropical storm. It reflects mightily what’s in the grooves. Here many ideas are not only considered but fully attempted — often in the same track. Take for instance “Everyone Is Guilty,” the cut that opens the set. There are no less than six tempo changes, though it opens with a slippery funky backbeat, Afro-beat percussion, and a slinky yet propulsive bassline before entering a hooky, Beatlesque rock chorus, layering in strings, taut snare, and kick drum, and then chanting above hard rock riffs, a pop bridge, and prog rock exercises in arpeggiatic crescendo. It may sound like a mess, but it’s tight as a fist hammering on musical genres and cracking them open wide.
“MBF” is every bit as crackly and proggy as Yes in the middle of a wide-open live jam — complete with a Chris Squire seal-of-approval bass pattern. “Many Ghosts” is a nursery rhyme cum country song with strings, harpsichords, and elegiac rock overtones, all of them sweet and tender. They get underscored with a Jack Nitzsche-esque wordless vocal and string chorus for a few seconds as a bridge and handclaps join it a few seconds later. The effect is gorgeous, and if you can simply let this rather stunning set of surprises wash over you, you will be delighted. Forget the pack-it-in-tight methodology of Animal Collective, Akron/Family give everything its proper sense of space and atmosphere. Check out the lovely, hypnotic guitars and tom-toms in “Sun Will Shine,” with its single line sung over and again in staggered choruses before fading and becoming an avant New Orleans funeral march of sorts as “Auld Lang Syne” is quoted by the horns to close it, played as if by the Art Ensemble of Chicago. This properly announces the album’s final track, “Last Year.” This cut has only two lines: “Last year was a hard year, for a very long time/This year is gonna be ours.” With three-part harmony accompanied by a piano, it’s a gospel song sung by people who have no idea how to or perhaps even know what gospel music is, but they can feel it, and it sums up the entire sprawling message of this record as evidenced by its title: that this new free and wild Akron/Family are, by the very fact of their restlessness, creating music that will resonate for its inspiration and execution. – Thom Jurek

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