American Football – ‘American Football’ (Albums I Love)
I’ve been going back over my music library over the past couple of weeks, and I realised that I have amassed so many albums that mean the world to me. So I’ll begin with what, in my mind, is a bona-fide classic: American Football from “way back” in 1999. I’m gonna get all personal with you now. This record is one of my favourites, and one that has managed to stay with me since I first heard it at 14. It’s an album that still gets me misty-eyed and nostalgic for summer vacations (I know everyone has at least one record that provokes a similar reaction). It makes me recall all those times I did things that I regret, things that I wished I could do again and. most importantly, people I’ll never forget. I’ve had a lot of “what if…?” moments in the past, even if they were just teenage dreams and crushes, and every person (read: girl) I’ve ever gotten goofy over has been contemplated, studied and worshipped with American Football playing on my stereo.
Formed in 1997, these guys only managed 12 songs (9 on this release, 3 on a previous EP) of recorded output and a handful of shows, but it’s clear that they had something special going here. This album is pitched somewhere between the jangly indie of Death Cab For Cutie and the sombre tones of Jeniferever. Guitars twang and intertwine on a permanently clean plane, creating a swishing soundscape littered with perky harmonics and off-kilter melodies. The orchestration seems so intricate that it seems overwhelming to know American Football are a 3-piece band. Polyrhythmic structures, tight drumming and a wistful vocal performance from indie golden boy Mike Kinsella combine with the astonishing guitar work to create something truly unique and truly wonderful.
My taste in music was so malleable when I was a teenager that it’s a testament to American Football that they managed to remain a band that I still return to now that I’m almost 23. I’ve grown up and away from so many different artists and genres of music that, for me, it does take something truly brilliant to survive the passing of time, especially considering how crazy and fickle teens can be. I implore anyone who actually reads this to hunt this album down and take the time to love it as much as I do. This album will always be as important to me as it has been for the past 8 years, even if it’s never the soundtrack to a crush/love/break-up ever again.