American Football – LP2 Review 

The date is October 21st. The doorbell rings. I wake up in a cold sweat. Tears are quite literally pouring out of my eyes before I have even opened them. I might have actually wet myself. I peel my sticky carcass out of bed, tumbling to the front door, running towards the Amazon delivery driver like a wife running to a husband who has just returned from war. I open the door, sign for the delivery. I try to say “thanks” but all I can do is sort of scream and cry and whimper all at once before slamming the door in his moustachioed face. I’m sorry about that, Amazon delivery man. I truly am.

The reason for this outburst of emotion? The driving force behind me being so excited I was literally unable to function at a basic human level, possibly damaging the hearing of an innocent Amazon delivery driver beyond repair in the process? Today is the day. A day myself and every other emo music fan has waited 17 long, painful years for. Today is the day American Football finally release their sophomore album, American Football LP2. I’m not crying, I promise…

I listen to the record immediately, approximately eighteen times, before I can even begin to form a coherent thought about it. This is like all my Christmases and birthdays at once, except instead of being wrapped in shiny paper, my wishes come inside a cardboard sleeve, in the the form of a beautiful emo album with math rock-influenced guitars and gorgeous vocal melodies.

My personal highlights are singles ‘Give Me The Gun’, ‘I’ve Been So Lost For So Long’ and ‘Desire Gets In The Way’, along with album tracks ‘Home Is Where The Haunt Is’ and ‘My Instincts Are My Enemy’. Each track feels significant on its own, telling a story that doesn’t need to rest on the songs it’s embedded in-between to be important, but also fusing together superbly to create an incredibly emotive narrative. I am immediately spellbound. Nothing comes close to this feeling. This band have meant the world to me for four years, and after being privileged enough to experience one of their live shows in Leeds last year, I have been hoping and praying for another album every day. It certainly lives up to my expectations. In the beginning.

Admittedly, after those initial listens, something does feel amiss. Gone are the sparse lyrics detailing break-ups and the warm, nostalgic sound that the first album captured so well. In their place are more ambitious arrangements, focusing on themes of loss and feeling lost, times changing and growing older. The lyrics are no longer so thinly spread, but not necessarily sincerer as a result. While these changes could be considered developments- purely a result of the fact American Football aren’t teenagers anymore, and higher production values creating a more polished sound, the charm of American Football LP1 just isn’t there.

After debating for hours and hours what the real issue I have with this album is- an album I want to love with every fibre of my being, and for the most part do, I realize- the problem isn’t the album, it’s me. LP1 came to me at a time when frank, heart-shattering break-up songs were exactly what little, lost, teenage me needed to hear. LP2 feels distant, mature, scary- a reminder that nothing stays the same forever. I was a teenager, and now I’m not. I’m an actual grown up now. Or at least I’m getting there. American Football have grown up, becoming what they were always destined to be, without forgetting their roots, and while it feels strange and alienating at first, it’s a change I can now welcome with open arms. It’s time for me to grow up too. It’s fine to hang onto those albums you love from the past, but at some point you have to let go of the feelings you associate with them in order to grow. I suppose the moral of this all is: it’s OK to grow up and change, and even better if you manage to create a create a couple of brilliant emo rock albums on the way.

American Football – LP2 = 9/10

Katie Hayes

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