Essential New Music: American Football’s “American Football”


It’s not as surprising as it could be that a band like American Football is getting a second life 17 years after the fact. Rather, it makes perfect sense—those 17 years have been stuffed with records drawing from the meandering, quietly unsatisfied emo of the band’s initial self-titled LP. Still, it’s impressive how direct the through-line is from 1999’s American Football to 2016’s American Football. Replace the young, romance-starved spirit of the former with a settled wariness, and songs like “Where Are We Now” and “My Instincts Are The Enemy” make perfect sense. LP2 is quite stunning on its own accord, though, twisting autumnal cool into the shimmering layers of “Home Is Where The Haunt Is.” The production quality takes a step up this time around, with Mike Kinsella’s vocals rising up to the forefront, and each element of LP2’s beautiful, breezy musicianship sounding crisp and clean. To say that LP2’s existence is worth undermining the sometimes mystifying singularity of American Football’s first full-length is very high praise, but LP2 is certainly worthy of standing next to a genre classic.

—Jordan T. Walsh