Album Review: American Football – American Football

U.S. emo stalwarts American Football stun on third self-titled album

Album Review: American Football – American Football
James Mackinnon

It’s a tale as old as emo itself: young chronicler of teenage doubts grows up, has kids and writes songs about parental doubts. Fostered by the success of American Football’s 2014 reunion and the notion that excellent self-titled albums shouldn’t be once-in-a-generation affairs, their third record moves away from the mathy contortions of youth into rich, textural contemplations.

Lush beds of guitar and circular melodies hypnotise as slippery rhythms push and pull soothingly. Mike Kinsella’s shivering croon is also counterpointed by several guest vocalists. Hayley Williams of Paramore offers consoling warmth to Mike’s confession, ‘I blamed my father in my youth / Now as a father I blame the booze’ on Uncomfortably Numb. Elsewhere, the sylph-like vocals of Rachel Goswell make explicit the shoegazey influence of her band Slowdive. American Football have matured, but what remains unchanged is their ability to gently tug the heartstrings.

Verdict: KKKK

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