American Football - ‘Sillhouettes’

American Football - new image credit Atiba Jefferson - lo-res.jpg

Emo legends return in a sparkly and stately way.

American Football are definitely an acquired taste. When bringing this band up in conversation with a leyman, it might sound like you're selling them wrong. They're called American Football for fucks sake and they're pioneers of emo music?! Must sound like Jimmy Eat World right? Wrong. American Football don't concern themselves with labels and other bands. Their aim is to just make the most beautiful guitar music they can. If "emo" as the common people refer to it is as upbeat as it is emotional, American Football's aim is to make their fans cry, take them on a journey and demonstrate the subtleties of this much revered punk subgenre. They did it perfectly on their iconic debut, whilst following up with an astounding lack of pressure on their follow up which came seventeen years later. Now, a mere three years after, "American Football III" is on the horizon and this new single, ‘Sillhouettes’ is their first offering.

American Football aren't going to surprise you with fast tempos or anything like that. This is as familiar territory as we get, just on a slightly bigger scale. Atmospheric xylophone starts of the track in a sparkly way, whilst synth pads fill up the rest of the room. It's hard not to picture the house on the cover of their debut album when listening to this, but we're walking away from it rather than wallowing in it's unbearable stature. The song explodes into a sound that can only be described as American Football esque- mathy guitars spiralling within each other beautiful, refrained, halftime drum work with some phenomenal time signature defying flourishes. Classic emo melodies soften cryptic, heartbroken words- "what's the allure of inconsequential love?". Melodies and counter-melodies flit in and out of each other like a pack of unruly young doves, playfighting for that little bit more space. The atmosphere grows ever more uncomfortable with those synthpads subtly making their way chromatically up the scale to attempt to put the beautiful playing of the guitar off, but it soon reaches it's natural musical conclusion in such a satisfying ways. This is not a song of standout moments, big crescendo's and sing along choruses. What this song is is a confident and assured return from these kings of misery- providing atmospheric emo rock even better than their alma maters Death Cab for Cutie have managed in recent years. 

Words by James Kitchen