football, etc., Audible

football, etc., <em>Audible</em>

Relationships are difficult things to handle; even the good ones, the ones that are worthwhile, take work and pain and struggle. And I’m not even talking about relationships with spouses or partners or whatever, but any relationship with somebody you care about, whether it’s friends, family, or somewhere in-between.

I make that point because I firmly believe that while football, etc.’s newest album, Audible, differs quite a bit from 2011’s stellar The Draft, it is still all about relationships, at heart. It’s just about a different kind of relationship. The Draft is/was a full-on breakup album, at least to my ears, and at first listen, Audible sounded like it was right in the same vein, full of eyes-to-the-floor, bitter, tuneful melancholy.

But while it’s definitely full of all that, this album’s not about a breakup but about a loss, a loss of somebody close to singer/guitarist Lindsay Minton. Once I realized that, the whole thing seemed to click into place on the next listen; suddenly, the ending lines from “Hut 1” made sense: “We put people / in pretty thing / when we put them / into the ground.” Then there’s the refrain from opening track “Fair,” where Minton declares, “This can’t be right,” after which she talks about the other person in the song seeing their life flash before their eyes.

As the album moves along, it stays pretty true to the band’s overall sound — those clear, jangly-but-rough emo-kid guitars are still there, as is Minton’s stretched-out, Mineral-esque vocal phrasing (which I just can’t get enough of, by the way). Tracks like “Goal” or “Time Out” are harder-edged, with sharper, more art-punk-sounding guitars, but a lot of Audible is more delicate than that, gentler and somber overall than The Draft, which at least had some cheerier, brighter moments. Here football, etc. feel like they’ve down-shifted to a tone that’s more thoughtful and more straightforwardly melancholy, but which still works in its context.

It’s hard to pick high points on this release, I’ll admit, because a lot of the songs drift together, bleeding into one another inside my head; at a few points, I had to check the liner notes to see where I was on the album, because I was just rolling with the sound and letting it drag me along, through the fragile harmonics and low-key, hazy drone of the title track, the busier, heavier (but still downcast) guitar work of “Hut 1,” the prog-y, technical-sounding “Forfeit,” and the wickedly sharp “Red Zone,” which pulls a neat trick by trying to give the object of the song an out, absolving them of blame, while holding tight to the stabbing pain Minton’s feeling in her chest.

Taken as a whole, Audible feels to me like it’s a musical/emotional journey for Minton through the process of loss; at the start, she’s caring for somebody who learns they’ve got a terminal illness, and she’s in denial, sure that it can’t really be happening. Then, there’s a lot of darkness, a lot of bitterness and pain, anger against the world at large.

Finally, she comes out the other side with “Return,” he best track on the album and the one that sees the band lift up its collective head and try to move forward. It’s by far the most hopeful song on here, like Minton’s finally turning towards the light and resolving to keep moving, to keep trying, no matter what, for as long as she and that other person she’s singing about have left together. It’s a gorgeous, uplifting moment, not to mention literally the perfect end for this album. Damn.

[football, etc. is playing 11/6/13 at Rudyard’s, along with Little Big League, Valens, & Race To The Moon.]
(Count Your Lucky Stars Records --; football, etc. --; football, etc. (Facebook) --; football, etc. (Twitter) --; football, etc. (Bandcamp) --
BUY ME: Bandcamp

Review by . Review posted Wednesday, November 6th, 2013. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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One Response to “football, etc., Audible

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 3: Seahaven + Balance and Composure + football, etc. + The Lotus Effect + Caddywhompus + Muhammad Ali + More on October 12th, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    […] bring together the best elements of folks like Mineral, Sarge, and Camber, and last year’s Audible was seriously one of the best things I heard all year. They’ve popped up again recently with […]

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