football, etc.

Disappear EP

Written by: TL on 25/03/2015 16:55:43

Not to be confused with the older, stylistically related Illinois band American Football, the Houston trio football, etc. is only a handful of years or so into its career, yet the trio already has two albums and a number of EPs and splits to their name. All of these have been released on Count Your Lucky Stars, and the band fits right into the label's image of putting out mellow, noodling records of the emo- and post-rock variety. The band's most recent release is the "Disappear" EP, which is a rare title for them in not being dubbed with a football expression (such as previous releases like "Audible", "The Draft" or "First Down"), yet the sports references are clearly ironic, as the music has nothing to do with the NFL, and the way the "etc." is tacked onto the band name makes you wonder exactly what the sensitive types in the band have been annoyed with having ignored, by supposedly superficial types who one imagines have been busy thinking about "football, etc.".

If you're familiar with Count Your Lucky Stars' usual signees, you won't be surprised to hear football, etc. borrow moods and musical elements from the mellower and more shoegazing bands that flourished back when emo was a word the mainstream had yet to learn. Groups like Mineral and Kid Brother Collective and their many lesser known contemporaries come to mind when listening to the tempered beats and meandering, clean guitar melodies, which evokes atmospheres of being young and existentially troubled, and losing track of time in American suburbia. Football, etc. incidentally set themselves apart though, by having their music narrated by a moody girl instead of a moody boy, as guitarist Lindsay Minton sings in dragged out alto notes with a nuance in her voice that brings the lethargy of 90's indie to mind.

To the band's credit, the atmosphere they are going for is established capably, and there should be no doubt in the listener's mind that what they're hearing is emo made by people who have a relatively accurate understanding of what that actually means. Regrettably, judging from "Disappear" it does not seem that football, etc. have ambitions of being much more interesting than that. The songs are deliberately kept unexplosive, which supposedly allows for the sadness of the lyrical narratives to sink in but, unfortunately, Minton sings primarily in the broadest and least spectacular metaphors. The melody of "Sunday" might be catchy, but you can't help but be a bit disappointed when you realise that what you're singing along to is "Sometimes at night, I feel such awful pain - In my knees and my feet, and I just can't sleep. So I can pretend that my wounds are not there, and they disappear, and I am fine again".

It makes you try to remember if the original emo bands that inspired the current "revival movement", didn't at least sing a lot more openly, about much more relateable and dramatic emotions. "Receiver" makes some allusions to someone's sister being ill and dying, which indeed sounds sad at a glance, but the song lets it sit there without elaborating or dealing with any of the supposedly traumatic emotions stemming from such a situation. When the 90's like despondency football, etc. deploys has worked for previous bands, it's been because there's been an underlying desperation shining through from beneath that surface. Lyrically football, etc. are too vague though. They're like those friends you have (probably hidden) on social media who post updates along the lines of "today was the worst day ever", and dodge out of elaborating, even if you sympathise enough to shoot them a message and ask what's wrong.

"Disappear" then, is an EP that appeals to people who like emo mainly for atmospheric or superficial reasons. Musically it does just well enough to figure as a member of the club, and a song like "Sweep" even introduces some violin for added sadness towards the end. But content-wise it fails to understand that emo is a genre that is built, cynically speaking, on oversharing. So then, "Disappear" will likely have considerable success with highschool diary authors and sworn fans of the ongoing "emo revival", but for football, etc. to ever be considered for as long-lasting status as some of their forebears, they either need to compose more interestingly so the lyrics don't matter so much, or they need to paint much more lively lyrical images than stuff like: "You bury me and I can't breathe".

Download: Sunday
For The Fans Of: Mineral; Rainer Maria, Joie De Vivre; Empire! Empire! I Was A Lonely Estate
Listen: facebook.com/footballetc

Release date 17.03.2015
Count Your Lucky Stars / strictly no capital letters

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