American Football
American Football


4.0
excellent

Review

by RJDBass USER (1 Reviews)
November 11th, 2008 | 19 replies | 3,881 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the best examples of 90s post-rock leaning bands.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Around 1994, as grunge moved even farther from its Seattle roots and into the major studios, what was once considered the most important of the alternative genres faded into pop radio fodder. Around the same time as grunge’s fall from the alternative throne bands like Chicago’s Tortoise began making music that sharply contrasted the ham-fisted approach of grunge bands. Post-rock, as the genre was named, had more focus on timbre and sonic diversity than on angst-ridden lyricism and sloppy guitar work. Mixing free-jazz’s tendency towards improvisation and modern rock’s song structure post-rock was characterized by endless repetition, limited vocals, and soaring, reverb filled guitar lines. In the wake of Tortoise’s debut the Chicago music scene exploded with post-rock acts following similar patterns of mellow, improvisation filled albums. Although many bands found critical success with these early post-rock releases it was undoubtedly American Football, who fused post-rock leanings with lyrics and vocals most akin to emo bands like vocalist Mike Kinsella’s previous band Cap’n Jazz, that still stands as one of the landmark bands of the late ‘90s.


Formed in 1997, American Football was from the college town of Urbana, Illinois. They were a short-lived trio that only released one LP album in 1999, along with two short EPs with limited distribution. From the outset of the album it’s clear that it is a homemade, indie record. The first song features a brief sound-check and one of the band members asking in the background “are we ready?” and then counting the song off. Despite its obviously unprofessional start, “Never Meant”, is easily one of the standout tracks on the album. It features the trademark dual guitar approach, with one guitar repeating the same riff and the other either doubling the riff or playing higher guitar lines with more reverb. The song also has one of the best vocal hooks on the album. Long instrumental interludes are broken up by emotive vocals with lyrics at home with early emo bands. Songs like “The Summer Ends” and “The One with the Wurlitzer” have a lone trumpet sounding melodies in the intros which gives the music an even more calming sound. While some tracks do get lost in their endless repetition, sometimes that isn’t a bad thing. The music is meant to be quiet and peaceful but also complex; sometimes it’s easy to overlook the changing meters and technical rhythms of drummer Steve Lamos. On a closer listen to almost every track the technicality of the music is immense, but the real skill behind the music is not in the chops of the band but instead the ability they have in making music that doesn’t sound forcibly complex. The band writes very pop melodies but plays them in ways that expand the ideas, like on the song “I’ll See You When We’re Both Not so Emotional”.


On the whole this album flows from song to song with little filler, making it a cohesive collection of songs. While some may find it repetitive or boring, it isn’t meant to be the most exciting album ever. If anything, it’s meant to relax the listener. From the cover art to the last track this is an Illinois album, it captures the feelings of small town loneliness through its long, wistful instrumental passages and it definitely deserves its place among the best in the Chicago music scene.


user ratings (1384)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of
related reviews

American Football EP

Comments:Add a Comment 
charlesfishowitz
November 11th 2008



1794 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

what?

SpinLightTwo
November 11th 2008



1029 Comments


i was just listening to this earlier.

rasputin
November 11th 2008



14538 Comments


good album

natey
November 11th 2008



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I need to listen more to the entire album and not just the first track, which is actually "Never Meant" if I recall

00DK00
November 11th 2008



21 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album, although i dont really see the point in the explanation of the grunge scene and post-rock

handoman
November 12th 2008



2386 Comments


i need to listen to this more.

SynGates
November 12th 2008



2467 Comments


great album indeed

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
November 12th 2008



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good album but I never really connected with it as much as others have.

Fire Away
November 12th 2008



293 Comments


I need to listen more to the entire album and not just the first track, which is actually "Never Meant" if I recall
yea same except i've only heard "Honestly?"

ClearTheLane
November 12th 2008



990 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Never Meant is one of the best Indie tracks ever. And the album is one of the best of the genre as well.
As for the review, it's ok, but not great. There's much more to write about of this album, lyrics and instruments especially.
Let'se pretend that everything and anything, between you and me, was never meant...
All the who's are there, but the why's are unclear
This Message Edited On 11.12.08

ClearTheLane
November 12th 2008



990 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol it actually says in the tracklisting Never Ends.
Btw did u also notice that the (real) tracklist and song names are in a interesting order.
"Honestly?",
"For Sure."
or
"You know I should be leaving soon. But the regrets are killing me. I'll see you when we're both not so emotional."

charlesfishowitz
November 12th 2008



1794 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i dont see it

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
November 12th 2008



4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I saw the 'you know I should be leaving soon, but the regrets are killing me. I'll see you when we're both not so emotional.'

but kinda just say, 'oh cool' and kept it to myself

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

SynGates
November 12th 2008



2467 Comments


stay home could fit after that

spoon_of_grimbo
November 12th 2008



2240 Comments


i love this album, always great to throw on late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, especially if you're feeling a bit shitty.

never meant is the best on here i reckon.

and i'm gonna pos this review, because it pretty much sums up my thoughts on the album, and doesn't deserve the "0 of 1 thought this review was well written" at the top of the page.

RJDBass
November 12th 2008



1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

for the record this was written for a pop music course, i just thought i'd throw it up for kicks. that also explains the bs about grunge, it had to connect to the course

ClearTheLane
November 13th 2008



990 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i love this album, always great to throw on late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, especially if you're feeling a bit shitty.
I always listen to it at rainy afternoons, usually when I feel... yeah, shitty.

rasputin
November 13th 2008



14538 Comments


yeah it's great for moments like that

charlesfishowitz
November 13th 2008



1794 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i feel shitty when i listen to this when i feel shitty



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy