American Football’s second album comes 17 years after their self-titled debut. In truth, that record didn’t cause many ripples this side of the pond, but in the States it was heralded as a highpoint in what was then a burgeoning Emo scene. The follow up LP2 appears without a title and with similar artwork so it’s obvious the band are treating this release as an extension of their 1999 record. Strange, especially given the fact that singer Mike Kinsella can indulge his odd time signatures and confessional lyrics in his current project Owen.
That’s essentially what American Football do. And on this record, it’s disappointing fare. Sonically, there are crisp, warm guitar tones throughout, reminiscent of The Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly, but there is not enough punctuation from other instruments. Each song is identically paced and sung in a similar key, making it difficult to differentiate one track from another.
The lyrics offer little hope, making it difficult for the listener to emotionally invest in the subject matter. “Every street is a dead end” Kinsella laments on ‘I’ve Been Lost For So Long’, “The devil will find a way” he informs us on ‘I Need A Drink’, and “At least we’ll die together” he mourns on album closer ‘Everyone Is Dressed Up’. You get the idea. It’s heartfelt I’m sure but it’s plain boring. Even Morrissey at his lowest ebb could muster up some humour in his lyrics but this is content which struggles to offer any kind of hope as it drowns in a sea of self loathing and self pity.
For all that, the production is enjoyable; reminiscent of mid-eighties English indie records, and there are small elements of math rock which are not without their virtues, but a repeat listen proved arduous.