American Football is a band that has for decades been labeled as one of the quintessential emo rock bands of the 90s. Formed in 1998 by multi-instrumentalist Mike Kinsella the band released their debut full-length album in 1999 only to abruptly break up shortly after. For years the band slowly faded into obscurity, leaving many of their fans clamoring for more while they sat in their living rooms spinning their one and only album on repeat. In 2014 those fans prayers where finally answered with the band reuniting for a handful of sold out show in NYC to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the release of their self-titled debut album. The anniversary shows went so well that the band decided to take the show on the road and performed in packed venues all around the world in cities liked London and Tokyo. It went so well, that the band decided to get back to together for good, and in 2016 American Football made the announcement of the release of their second album American Football (LP2).
Fast forward to 2019 and the band is at it again with the release of their third album appropriately titled American Football (LP3). Similar to LP1 and LP2 the band uses their unique blend of jazzy tempos, pop hooks, and emotionally charged vocals, to bring an almost dream like euphoric sound that you can’t help but sit and contemplate life to. It is a sound that is relaxing with a sadness component to it, with many of the vocals delving into emotional hardships like depression and heartbreak. This is very apparent in the song “Uncomfortably Numb.” In the song which features Paramore’s Hayley Williams, the band discusses serious mental health issues involving depression with lyrics such as “sensitivity deprived, I can’t feel a thing inside” and “all my sympathy prescribed” referring to antidepressants. All the while their signature soothing and melodic sound is playing. It is a confounding message but yet somehow is therapeutic to listen to.
American Football’s latest album may be more of the same from them, but that isn’t such a bad thing. The band has figured out a formula that works, and has stuck to it for over 20 years. And just like the past two albums American Football LP3 doesn’t disappoint.