Review Summary: "Don't leave home again..."
Ahh... American Football's self titled, their one and only LP (GRINDING MY TEETH). A record that is often labeled a "summer album" I, for some reason, find it to be overwhelmingly winter. I think of bright white snow on the trees, or eating marshallows around the campfire which is exumed by the coldest, harshest winter I've ever known. I know, that last example did not make much sense, but neither does this album. Because it boggles my mind how everytime I hear this album wintery snow comes to my mind, when I should be thinking of warm summer nights, skinny dipping at the lake, or skating at the good ol' skate park. But whether this album reminds you of the summer, the fall, the spring, the winter, or everything in between, I think one thing most music fans can agree on is that American Football's one and only LP (grinding my teeth yet again) is one for the ages.
American Football was a three-man indie band headed by singer, guitarist, and songwriter Mike Kinsella alongside Steve Holmes (guitar) and Steve Lamos (drums). One listen to the album's first track, and it is clear that these guys aren't just ***ing around. American Football's sound consists of complex, clean guitar melodies combined with flawless, gentle, yet complex drumming and the occassional horned instrument backing. For a band that lacks a bassist, this band achieves a very full and unique sound, with the second guitar often backing the first guitar with catchy, creative bass lines.
I have listened to this album many more times than I can count, yet while I'm listening to it as I'm writing, it still hits me like the first time I heard it. My favorite aspect of this album is definitely the amazingly catchy guitars. The guitarists really have a knack for picking up on unique progessions; and I'm not sure if there's one point in this record where the guitars are not going at it; not to say that the guitars are overwhelming by any means. This is one of, if not the most relaxing indie record I've heard in my life. The band plays together so flawlessly, so much so that if I listen to one track out of the album, I can't help myself but listen to the rest of it. It's that good.
Another obvious highlight of this album are the drums. The beats and fills placed throughout this album are extremely catchy and creative, and the drumming really helps make the album what it is. Mr. Lamos knows how to jam out, but most of the time he goes for the laidback groove route, which works perfectly in this album. As a drum player myself, I find myself appreciating his patience in letting the song develop, as well as driving the song without feeling the need to stick out. The drums are mixed expertly along with the rest of the band. They are slightly more quiet than the guitar, which in my opinion was a good move because the mixing is damn near perfect in my opinion.
The weakest aspect of this album is definitely the vocals. They aren't bad by any means, but compared to the quality and uniqueness of all other aspects of this album, they just don't live up to the talent. That being said, Mike Kinsella has a very soothing voice which works with the music quite well. My only gripe is the vocals seem to be very similar throughout most tracks, and his voice can be pitchy at times, but I find myself enjoying his voice more times than not.
There is not one weak track one this album, Honestly. And since every track on here is great, I don't feel like I should need to mention standout tracks, but for those of you who want an example of their talent, here ya go:
1. Never Meant
2. The Summer Ends
4. For Sure
5. You Know I Should Be Leaving Soon
6. But The Regrets Are Killing Me
7. I'll See You When We're Both Not So Emotional
8. Stay Home
9. The One With The Wurlitzer
Yes, I just copied and pasted every track. Just download the album, you won't be dissapointed.