American Football are excited to announce the forthcoming release of their third full-length album, American Football (LP3), out Friday, March 22 on Pod via Inertia Music and available to pre-order now. The band, whose songwriting has been so influential to a generation of musicians, have raised the stakes on the writing and recording of their third effort under the American Football moniker, and it shows. The band break new ground sonically, and explore new voices too, with guest vocals from Hayley Williams of Paramore, Land of Talk’s Elizabeth Powell, and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell.
O “We’re not 23-year-old petulant kids now,” tells vocalist/guitarist Mike Kinsella over in an exclusive with Rolling Stone, “We’re adults making concessions, and you appreciate what everyone is doing. If there’s something cool happening at the end, let’s ride it out. Let’s add a children’s choir, or vibraphones, or ringing bells. You can’t deny how long the songs are, but you’ll miss stuff if you turn it off.”
American Football’s original triumph, on their 1999 self-titled debut, was to reunite two shy siblings: emo and post-rock. Like Slint’s Spiderland, or Codeine’s The White Birch, even Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock, the debut asked far more questions than it cared to answer. Fifteen years later, American Football reunited (now as a four-piece, with the addition of Nate Kinsella). They played far larger shows than in their original incarnation and recorded their long-anticipated second album, 2016’s American Football (LP2). The release was widely praised, but the band members still felt like their best work was yet to come.
Enter American Football (LP3). "We put a lot of time and a lot of energy into it," says Mike. "We were all thoughtful about what we wanted to put out there. Last time, it was figuring out how to use all of our different arms. This time, we were like – OK we have these arms, let’s use them". The band used the same producer, Jason Cupp, and recorded the album at the same studio (Arc Studios in Omaha, Nebraska) as its predecessor – yet they approached it in a markedly different way. There was a determination to let the songs breathe, to trust in ideas finding their own pace. The final result is a definite, and deliberate, stretching of the band.
As a result, LP3 is less obviously tethered to the band’s past than the second album. An immediate contrast between LP3 and its two predecessors is its cover. The two previous albums featured the exterior and interior of a residence in the band’s original hometown of Urbana, Illinois (now attracting fans for pilgrimages and photo opportunities), by the photographer Chris Strong. But American Football knew that LP3 was an outside record. Instead of the familiar house, this time the cover photo (again by Strong) features open, rolling fields on Urbana’s borders. It is a sign of the album’s magnitude in sound, and of the band’s boldness in breaking away from home comforts. American Football also joked that LP3’s genre was 'post-house' because of this very conscious visual break.
LP3 is contemplative, rich, expressive, yet with a queasy undercurrent. It is heavy with expectancy, revealing its ideas slowly, eliciting the hidden stories people carry around with them. "I feel like my lyric writing has changed a lot over the years," says Mike. "The goal is to be conversational, maybe to state something giant and heavy, but in a very plain way. But, definitely in this record, I keep things a little more vague." As on the first album, the lyrics on LP3 may seem confessional and concentrated, but the more you scrutinize them, the further their meaning slinks away.
"Somewhere along the way we moved from being a reunion band to just being a band," says Steve Holmes. American Football is now a bona fide ongoing focus, and they are making some of the best music of their lives. American Football (LP3) stands with two other rare reunion successes – Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine’s mbv – as a fine example of how a band finding one another again can augment, rather than taint, their legacy.
American Football is Steve Holmes (guitar), Mike Kinsella (vocals, guitar), Nate Kinsella (bass), and Steve Lamos (drums, trumpet).
You can pre-order the album HERE OR listen to 'Silhouettes' below: