American Football - LP3
At this point it is almost funny how good American Football continue to be. Their three albums, all self titled, are cutting and vivid even though they've never been in line with the hippest stuff. They came to late to hop on the emo bandwagon and despite critical acclaim never truly broke through into the mainstream. This album likely won't do that either, but it does shift their position a bit to more of a indie rock post-emo sort of thing. Paramore's Hayley Williams, another former emo convert, features on "Uncomfortably Numb" a duet. The song is gentle and soft, smooth and easy to steal a line from Fred Armison's Documentary Now. That is a phrase that kept coming to mind while listening to this, there are some deep ideas happening, but more so some really gentle music. American Football really asks you to come to them, you have to make a concious choice to get into their music. They are never going to hit you over the head with music or themes which gives their records a hell of a lot more room for subtly. There is some real growing up happening for the American Football boys on this record with fatherhood and the lack there of becoming more and more of a theme. One of the most haunting lines comes when Kinsella sings: “I blamed my father in my youth/Now as a father, I blame the booze.” showing that regardless of age we are always looking outside of ourselves for something to blame. The reality is the blame usually lies somewhere right between out eyes.
Almost every song on this new record is over five minutes, something kind of unheard of in this genre of music. It shows that the band are employing elements of post-hardcore, shoegaze and others of a similar ilk into their music. It makes for this really wide open feeling record. "Doom in Full Bloom" features this really soft trumpet over a plucked electric guitar that is so unhurried to gets to it's destination that every shift feels effortless. One of the changes you sense on this album is American Football becoming a regular band. Before LP2 in 2016 their last album release was 1999. They felt like a magical unicorn streaking through the mist, but now how do they reconcile being a normal band who puts out albums every couple of years? I don't know, and I don't think they quite do either, they just like what they are doing because it feels right and true. It's exciting that their output is starting to even out, but where and how their sound may change is totally unknown. For now LP3 is a shining example of how to age as a band and how to continue to write songs that connect with your roots while not denying that the world has moved on.
8.1 out of 10