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American Football
American Football [deluxe reissue] - POLYVINYL
FILTER Grade: 83%

By Mischa Pearlman on June 16, 2014


American Football

Across a range of musical outlets (Joan of Arc, Cap’n Jazz, Owls, Make Believe), the Kinsella clan—brothers Mike and Tim and their cousin Nate—have built up an impressive portfolio between them. It’s American Football, however, that’s probably mythologized most. Formed by Mike Kinsella, guitarist Steve Holmes and drummer Steve Lamos in 1997, they recorded an eponymous EP and this eponymous album before disbanding in 2000. Until now. Earlier this year, a reunion was announced, preceded by the news of this re-release.


Consisting of the album’s original nine tracks—14 years later, the lilting melancholy of “Never Meant” remains a quietly powerful opening gambit—and a bunch of recently discovered, previously unreleased live tracks, demos and practice sessions, this is a timely reminder of music’s ability to resonate forever once recorded. The twilight sadness of “For Sure” and the plaintive, eight-minute introspection of “Stay Home,” guitars twinkling like clear night stars, are as gorgeous as ever. Yet while the bonus tracks are pleasant enough, they feel like the afterthought they are—inconsequential, non-essential artifacts for the obsessed to obsess over, while everyone else forgets about them, basking instead in the wistful glory of the original album.


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