Shit the bed.
American Football have become something of a cult phenomenon in recent years. Their debut record, recorded in the late 90s and released in 1999, is considered a pioneering example of Shoegaze guitar music. Less pop and more Emo-Jazz Indie, the eponymous record’s 9 tracks captured the imaginations of an entire generation of suburban kids who married the plain-spoken-lyric delivery with complex and non-self-indulgent musicianship. 15 years later they reunited for LP2, a second record that built off the original’s legacy with a poppier sensibility and an eye on recording hits. Whilst never hitting the heights of the original, it is still a wonderfully consummate record and a personal favourite.
Every Friday I have a routine of waking up to my “Release Radar” curated playlist on Spotify whilst I attempt to wash off a lack of sleep with a ferociously hot shower. In between all the forgettable 3 minute long boy-rock and overly serious electro bedroom-pop, a familiar tenor rose through the steam amid distinctive clean picked guitars weaving across frenetic controlled drum rhythyms to ask me “what’s the allure of inconsequential love”. I’ll be honest, I actually climbed out of the shower to check my phone, unwashed soap up my nose and all, to check it was indeed American Football and subsequently smashed my knee into the sink.
I’m surprisingly crap at following new releases so this made my day. I’m now writing this (sneakily) at work and have already clocked over 20 listens through. The new single, Silhouettes, is darker in tone and harks back to the original records hypnotic procedures. The lyrical delivery carries the song through the undulating musical valleys, like a drone doing filming an Icelandic geographical survey. American Football’s great strength is their unwavering sincerity in the face of emotional exposure. So many acts explore this with a 21st cynicism that verges on over-compensation. Yet when lines such as “I’m a fool for your pageantry” swing into view, there is a melancholic sharing in the familiar experience, instead of appreciating some sarcastic turn of phrase on a subject so universal.
It feels that American Football have emerged from the long shadow of the first record, produced the necessary reunion record and are now just making music simply as a band. They aren’t an old band, a reunited band or a scarily accurate tribute act. They’re just a band making some of the best music of their careers.
The full LP releases March 22, 2019 which is unfortunately at least 3 months away, and this is the most negative thing I can think to say.