Album Review: American Football – American Football (LP2)

By Marvin Dotiyal, Contributor

[Polyvinyl; 2016]

Rating: 8.5/10

Key Tracks: “My Instincts Are the Enemy,” I’ve Been So Lost for So Long,” “Everyone is Dressed Up,”

The sad boys are back. Finally.

The ’90s were an innovative time period for emo music, with influential acts such as Sunny Day Real Estate and The Promise Ring dominating the scene. However, American Football took a turn with their indie/math-rock approach, closing the ’90s emo scene with a fresh new sound. While Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity and Mineral’s EndSerenading shared a similar sound, American Football created a name for themselves and raised the bar with their self-titled debut in 1999 and broke up shortly. But now, Mike Kinsella and the one and only lineup is back.

American Football returns with a spectacular release, LP2, which can be considered as a sequel to their groundbreaking debut album. While showing the emo revival kids how it’s properly done, the band picks up where they left off with a reminiscent sound of late 90’s emo in LP2. If you are familiar with the genre, LP2 will take you back to the “sparkly” and “mathy” sound, and their full potential is finally revealed after 17 years.

LP2 encapsulates the usual melancholy nature of American Football. The album is well planned, and every song off this record is well written and beautifully executed. The overall album structure in LP2 reveals Kinsella’s character; although he has matured greatly over time, he is still the same boy he was back in ’99, lost and puzzled in the complications of life.

The album starts off with “Where Are We Now,” a gentle reminder that the band has matured and figured out their way through adulthood, unlike the youthful struggles expressed in their debut album. In comparison, the band ends the album with “Everyone is Dressed Up,” which is about looking back at youth and the good old memories. This song is very calming much like the rest, but Kinsella’s soaring vocals give more impact to the meaning of the song, and the trumpet melody is also priceless. The song ends the album with an impacting line, “Everybody knows that the best way to describe the ocean to a blind man is to push him in.” This metaphorically shows how Kinsella has accepted to move on and embrace his life to the fullest, regardless of feeling lost in the youthful memories of the past.

Other songs such as “My Instincts Are the Enemy” and “I’ve Been Lost for So Long” contain more of a happy tone, but American Football’s best lies in their sad songs, which touch the listener with their raw emotions.

LP2 is a quintessential record for emo music, and it is definitely a must-listen for emo and indie-rock fans. Without a doubt, American Football has lived up to their name even after a long period of time.

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