December 4, 2020

American Football – American Football – Polyvinyl

By Kristi Kates | April 13, 2019

AF’s third album is the latest happening in a long list of ups and downs for the band, from a critically acclaimed debut to a band breakup, to a reformation, and the subsequent loss of the band’s house in a resale. Still soldiering on, AF released first single “Silhouettes” earlier this year, alongside a buzzy music video. For the set’s second single, “Uncomfortably Numb,” the band brought in Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams to sing; it’s proven to be one of the album’s highlights. ** ½

Hippo Campus – Landmark – Grand Jury
Minneapolis band Hippo Campus arrive with its full-length debut album, a faintly prog-rock influenced alternative-pop effort that floods the vocals with echo and teams that with spacy guitars and shoe-gazey production. The introspective feels of “Simple Season” and “Vacation” are perfect for a long hang at your local coffeeshop, while more upbeat tracks like “Way It Goes” (not to be confused with Bruce Hornsby) and “Western Kids” show off HC’s ability with some catchy beats. ***
Wallows – Nothing Happens – Atlantic
You’ve probably heard hints here and there of Wallows’ potential via pop-up spots on a number of regional tours, but the only “real” release the band has had to date was its 2018 SpringEP. Now the first full-length is here, and it’s poised to make a serious dent in the indie charts. Openers and closers “Only Friends” and “Do Not Wait” are great choices, but it’s the middle set (and transitions) that really make this album a standout. Favorites: the upbeat, instantly catchy indie-pop of “Are You Bored Yet,” the heavier “Scrawny,” and the drawling, spare production of “Ice Cool Pool.” *** ½
Lord Huron – Vide Noir – Republic
Led into the chart fray by new single “Wait by the River,” Lord Huron doesn’t markedly change its sound on this latest effort; the tracks here showcase a more subtle form of musical growth, while still staying well within the band’s thematic penchant for after-midnight car cruises through the big city. Las Vegas makes a glam-rock appearance on tracks like “The Balancer’s Eye” and “Emerald Star,” while the band gets more emo on tunes like “Secret of Life,” which sounds far more aimless and dissatisfied than the title alone might suggest. ** ½


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