Advance Review - American Football: American Football LP3
We had the opportunity to get advance access to American Football's new album American Football LP3! With their fantastic indie sound, American Football are sure to impress. American Football originally formed in 1997 before deciding to not record anymore in 2000. The band reunited in 2014 and American Football LP3 will be their third full-length release. Special thanks to Polyvinyl Records for getting us access to this album, check out our track by track review below!
American Football LP3 begins with "Silhouettes"begins with an intricate chorus of bells. Before jumping into the guitars and vocals. The song is a blend of alt-rock and more traditional alt stylings. If I were to comp it, I would surprisingly comp it to Tool's lighter work. Already released as a single, this song clocks in at just over 7:00 minutes and is accompanied by fantastic guitar lines throughout. The final single released from the album, "Every Wave To Ever Rise" (ft. Elizabeth Powell) is up next. The track features another strong guitar melody, with low-key vocals. Mike Kinsella and Elizabeth Powell's vocals pair well here, with Powell's occupying the higher register. Powell's vocals are effects laden, but they are still great.
Another single "Uncomfortably Numb" (ft. Hayley Williams) features another strong duet with Kinsella partnering with Paramore's Hayley Williams. The vocals in this track are much more shared than in "Every Wave to Ever Rise", with Williams handling almost as much, if not just as much vocal work as Kinsella. The style of this song borders between alt and emo almost, not only with the vocals, but also with the use of the guitar. "Heir Apparent" is another low-key track, with great drums and melody accompanying subdued vocals from Kinsella. "Heir Apparent" is a song of contrition. With the narrator repeatedly attempting to make amends with an unknown individual. The song closes with a nice use of a choir in the background to carry some of the vocal burden.
"Doom In Full Bloom"is another melodically slow track, it runs about 7:00 minutes long. Vocally Kinsella reminds me of Chester Bennington's more melodic tracks in this one. The melody is complex and exquisite and complemented perfectly by strong percussion. It picks up a bit about 4:00 minutes in, while keeping the complexity that I appreciated throughout the beginning of the track. Lyrically, there's a sense of longing here. A longing for a sense of home or being. The inclusion of a guitar solo is a welcome addition to the track. We have another duet with "I Can’t Feel You" (ft. Rachel Goswell). Musically, the song evokes strong comps to a Death Cab for Cutie track. The vocals in this duet are dueling in a way as Kinsella and Goswell play perfectly off one another.
"Mine To Miss" much like other tracks on the album features an ethereal melody that seems to rise delicately like fog. Vocally, Kinsella employs a lot some falsetto in this track which is fitting given the melody. This is another song evoking thoughts of longing and heartache. The final song of the album is "Life Support". It begins with a long instrumental section that is great before Kinsella begins singing. Musically, its as delicate as everything else on the album. Thematically, Kinsella sings of grief and loss on this one and what feels like sometimes the uncertainty that comes with these issues.
Closing Thoughts - Maybe emo's not dead after all? I will say this, thank God American Football's brand isn't the brand of old (all fifth chords with dueling vocals, one screamo, one melodic). No this is something a bit different, it combines bits of alt with vocal stylings (and themes) of emo music into it's own thing, all without raising your pulse. It could be easy to see how some may see this album as flat, as it's ethereal style never rises above softer tones. Eight songs in a row of similar toned music can be a tall order. However, it's hard not to appreciate the intricacy in the melodies when combined with the vocals. That said, this makes for a solid foundation of an album that is easy to appreciate musically, vocally, and thematically.
AMERICAN FOOTBALL TOUR DATES 03/23 - Boise, ID @ Treefort Music Fest 03/30 - Chicago, IL @ Metro # [SOLD OUT] 05/10 - Mayer, AZ @ FORM Arcosanti 05/12 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent Theater $ 05/13 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall $ 05/15 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom $ 05/16 - Vancouver, BC @ Imperial $ 05/17 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo $ 05/19 - Sain-Thérèse, Quebec @ Santa Teresa Music & Arts Festival 05/21 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer % 05/22 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club % 05/23 - Washington, DC @ The Black Cat % 05/24 - Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw % 06/21 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall ^ 06/22 - Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall ^ 06/25 - Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf ^ 06/27 - Dallas, TX @ Trees ^ 06/28 - Austin, TX @ The Mohawk ^ 06/29 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall ^ 07/26 - 07/28 - Niigata, Japan @ Fuji Rock Festival # w/ Sam Prekop, Campdogzz $ w/ illuminati hotties % w/ Pure Bathing Culture ^ w/ Tomberlin