20 years ago American Football, formed by Mike Kinsella of Cap’n Jazz, made their eponymously titled post rock-meets-emo debut and split up. The album is highly regarded in many quarters, including here at Norman Records. A follow-up surprised us in 2016, with Mike’s brother Nate expanding the line-up, and now we have the third installment. Features guest performances from Hayley Williams of Paramore and Elizabeth Powell of Land Of Talk. LP and CD on Big Scary Monsters.
Vinyl LP £16.99 BSM248V
Black vinyl LP on Big Scary Monsters.
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CD £11.49 BSM248CD
CD on Big Scary Monsters.
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Limited Vinyl LP £16.99 BSM248V2
Limited edition, indies only blue marble vinyl LP on Big Scary Monsters.
It took American Football seventeen years to follow up their much loved debut album and now it seems we can't get rid of them as three years later we get another instalment. Although someone needs to teach them the art of album titling, there is something rather fitting about their reluctance to distinguish one album from another. As if each is a continuation of the same piece.
This third album continues their habit of tangling guitars together favourably but supersizes it. Opener Silhouettes though opening with a glockenspiel (that most dastardly of instrument) soon bursts into the type of proggy big rock they excel at with the murmured vocals worryingly autotuned but sat enough beneath the shards of intricate guitars as to not cause offence.
So it's into this setting steps Paramore's Hayley Williams as guest vocalist. Initially it would seem barely believable that she'd be involved but American Football's baby steps into stadium territory allow them to become quite comfortable bedfellows. The result is a shimmering shard of ear friendly rock with duel vocals that becomes the clearest thing American Football have ever recorded but stops short of making the sort of sheeny racket her parent band do. American Football's background in Excellent Post Rock can still be heard in the lovely guitars of Heir Apparent but the vocals are allowing too much of normality to creep into what should be a distinct and unique sound.
Another guest is Slowdive's Rachel Goswell who cooes all over I Can't Feel You to good effect and the track sums up this album in that the musicianship is excellent, it's hard to not admire a band that can make such a lovely chiming sound out of their instruments, but its Death Can For Cutie ish emo grown old with 2 kids and a nice house in the suburbs is just a little too normalized for my ears.
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