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February 2020
Review

American Football - American Football

There’s a reason their reformation was met with such zeal.
American Football - American Football
Published: 10:43 am, October 21, 2016
There’s a reason their reformation was met with such zeal.

Label: Wichita Recordings
Released: October 21st 2016
Rating: ★★★★

“We’ve been here before but I don’t remember a lock on the door,” Mike Kinsella sings on album opener ‘Where Are We Now?’ Returning to the suburban Illinois home featured on the cover of their first record seventeen years on and venturing inside, American Football breathe fresh life into everything they’ve always known.

Portraying the same house on the cover and sharing the same title as the first record, these are unequivocally the same voices that questioned “all my teenage feelings and their meanings” back in 1999. There’s the same intricately woven textures and the same kind of echoing introspection that’s long merited the band their cult status. As Kinsella sings on ‘Home Is Where The Haunt Is’, “some things never change.”

Older and wiser, American Football revive their sound with the fresh perspectives that come with having been alive for longer. “I can’t believe that life is happening to me” the words resound on lead single ‘I’ve Been So Lost For So Long’. Mired in wistful reminiscence, the record canvasses emotion with the same enduring character that’s been endearing the outfit to listeners through the better part of two decades.

One aspect of that charm has always been the unwavering clarity through which the group presented themselves, and it’s no different here. There’s no power chords, no confrontation, nothing to deter from the instinctive vision of the music. Guitar lines spiral and entwine, reaching out along gracefully sailing melodies and diving through intense reflection.

From the vitalising brass of ‘Where Are We Now’ to the unhurried rhythms and world weary contemplation of ‘Everyone Is Dressed Up’, American Football is, much like its predecessor, a snapshot in time. There’s a reason their reformation was met with such zeal. An open exploration of the moments and emotions that make the band who they are, the album resonates outwards with characteristic emotion, raw and ready to be experienced by anyone who seeks it. Jess Goodman

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