by Samantha Lopez
Illinois-based emo legends American Football returned last year with their self-titled sophomore album, and although it’s been a 15-year hiatus since their 1999 debut, the band is proving that it remains one of the most formative groups in the history of Midwestern emo. The band is consistent after all these years, creating music that is dripping with reverb-drenched guitar work, sharp vocal harmonies and cross-beat styled drumming. The latest record, also titled American Football, is a more mature, wiser and self-reflective older sibling of its predecessor. While the debut is equally as brilliant, it was more of a record musing on youth and a young broken heart. The sophomore album rallies around the same themes, yet in a way that shows how they’ve grown up. Songs about chasing girls have evolved into tracks about the fragility of adult love and caring too much, with their music forging together to ask the existential question of “why does anything matter?” amidst sharp, polished instrumentation.