American Football

American Football (LP3)

Polyvinyl

Apr 17, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Twenty years ago, American Football, a trio of college students then located in Urbana, Illinois, released their debut self-titled album, American Football, and restructured the path that emo rock would take for the following decades. American Football quickly became the defining moment of what emo was and had becomeunwonted time signatures, emotive songwriting that was both unmistakably adolescent and blatantly introspective, and twinkling atmospherics utilizing two strangely-tuned guitars that would play off one another, drawing heavy influence from post-rock. Now two decades into their careerthough American football went on hiatus from 2000 to 2014with two albums under their belt, and now a third, with their latest, American Football (LP3), frontman Mike Kinsella and co. have completely switched gears stylistically. No longer just an emo band, American Football (LP3) provides a space for American Football to sound huge and grandiose, ditching much of their emo rock baggage for something that enters deep space, sounding more like a post-rock record than anything else.

This shift in aesthetic is fittingemo has been notoriously difficult to legitimize for the long hauland not entirely unsurprising. (LP3)'s predecessor, American Football (LP2), showed a band in limbo, still playing mathy emo rock, but nevertheless bursting at the seams, begging for something refreshing and new. (LP3) does exactly that-from the droning introduction of "Silhouettes" to the duets of "Every Wave to Ever Rise" featuring Elizabeth Powell of Land of Talk, and "Uncomfortably Numb" featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore, to the vibraphone-soaked burner "I Can't Feel You" featuring Rachel Goswell of Slowdive, American Football introduce a sound that is unexpected and otherworldly. Seldom do they hit a rough patch on (LP3) either. It's easily their most relaxed and thematically cohesive record, with darker undertones than expected, even for a band known to make emo rock. (LP3) glides gracefully to the end, sparking gorgeous soundscapes until the final seconds of the closer, "Life Support." (www.americanfootballmusic.com)

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