Photo by Shervin Lainez, http://www.shervinfoto.com/
“We can’t just keep playing the same nine songs for people…” Mike Kinsella of emo pioneers American Football recently spoke to Pitchfork in lieu of the announcement of their much awaited sophomore album, American Football (II). Their self-titled debut was released over 17 years ago and, even though there has been an official announcement, it still feels impossible to think they’d actually release a second record now. Their 1999 release has gained such a mythical status over the years, American Football’s whole existence seemed to be for them to create that record and that be it. Alas, with cautious excitement, we’ll have a new album to dissect, listen to and possibly cry over come October 21st. But before then, I’ve Been So Lost For So Long is the first glimpse the world has inside of the project.
After 17 years, Mike Kinsella returns to American Football sounding vocally different. For those who have followed his solo project Owen over the years, this is will come as no surprise. But those who just know him of American Football fame, there might be slight jarring moment at the first listen. However it’s for the best, as his vocals are now brought up more into the mix. Gone are buried scratchy vocals, as they now boast maturity and experience. Sonically, it marks a new chapter for the band.
The melodies of the track roll along like a river lapping over stones and pebbles down a stream. Incredibly intricate and gorgeous, they’re unmistakably American Football. They invoke loss, love and nostalgia through their craft, in a way that no other band can after all these years. The guitars interweave with each other again and again, meaning there is something new to discover every listen. There is a lot for fans to assimilate over here.
Whilst it may be a daunting task to meet the feats of their debut, this seems like a promising start. Some fans may feel disappointed, but that was bound to happen after all this time. 2016 has been a weird year for music. It has been filled with lots of artists returning , such as The Avalanches and Frank Ocean, but we’ve also had many of the greats taken way from us along the way. And now with American Football saying they’ve been so lost for so long, we should be truly thankful that they’re finally home.