By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)
To say that American Football are the epitome of emo rock would be putting it lightly. Despite only releasing one album and a subsequent EP, the influence the Illinois outfit have had on the genre is all too clear to see, paving the way for bands like Moose Blood, Basement and The Front Bottoms who owe so much for their self-titled release. Now, more than 17 years since their eponymous release at the turn of the century, American Football have returned to share what could possibly be the most overdue sophomore album in god knows how long.
The fact that American Football (2), or LP2 as I’ll call it for the remainder of the review, even exists is risky enough: the band may have been able to craft some timeless tunes such as Never Meant back during their creative peak in the 90’s but surely that doesn’t guarantee that lightning will strike twice? Whilst nothing that appears on LP2 is as iconic or as breathtaking as its predecessor, the quality of this belated release is still on the positive side of the spectrum. As always, Mike Kinsella, Steve Lamos and Steve Holmes have unparalleled instrumental chemistry, perfectly weaving in and out of one another to create some multi-layered and evoking songs that show that despite Kinsella professing he never intended American Football “to be popular , or even a band”, it’s clear that they still have the makings of a well-functioning machine.
One gripe with LP2 that could make or break it for certain listeners is the sincere lack of evolution. Play this directly after listening to their debut and the similarities become very apparent which could come down purely to homage, such as songs on LP1 had their track names as their finishing lyrics whilst on LP2 it’s the complete opposite , or an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of approach. With all things considered, however, LP2 is a worthy successor to LP1 and regardless of the fact that it may not reach the same heights, though who really thought it would, American Football still sound as unique and important as they did decades ago.