Football, Etc., Disappear
Sometimes, even when I really, really like a band — like is the case with, say, Houston-dwelling emo purveyors Football, etc. — there’s just some little thing/person/whatever missing to shove the whole thing over the edge into “holy crap, this is amazing” territory. Going by Football, etc.’s new four-song EP, Disappear, it looks like that thing is badass producer J. Robbins.
Okay, that’s not all that’s happening here, it’s true, but damn, does Disappear sound good. I loved Football, etc.’s earlier stuff, it’s true, but the production here just seems so much more full and alive, layered in the best way imaginable while never letting the band get swallowed up by the sound. It lets the songs shine in a way that they’ve never really been able to before now.
And oh, how they shine. See, on top of the perfectly-crafted sound, frontwoman/guitarist Lindsay Minton, bassist Mercy Harper, and drummer Daniel Hawkins (Papermoons!) have grown by leaps and bounds as both songwriters and performers, swooping and stepping through these four songs with a focused intensity that gives the whole effort an excellent gravitas.
Minton, in particular, is the best she’s ever been vocally, damn near flawless in the way she balances yearning and strength in her voice, seesawing back and forth in that Mineral-esque style she has. Her guitar roars and trembles at all the right moments, and behind her Harper and Hawkins keep the rhythm tight as a drum even when it’s slow (which is harder than you’d think, honestly), never letting the songs lag or get bogged down.
Beyond that, there’s a great, great feeling of resolve here; where 2013’s Audible felt like the band was mourning the loss of a loved one, Disappear holds its head up high, despite the seeming seriousness of Minton’s lyrics. “Sunday,” for one, is surprisingly bright and melodic, sweet and yearning but still moving forward, with Minton coming straight out and giving voice to her pain and depression and then explaining how she gets by.
“Sweep” is pleading and sincere but combative at the same time, with the choruses making me think of Jawbreaker’s Dear You more than anything else, and then that gorgeous, subtle violin comes in towards the end, just as Hawkins picks up the pace and sends it off into the night. For its part, “Receiver” is sharp and bright, starting with a relatively speedy part before slowing down and becoming more meditative and somber.
The EP closes out with “Open,” which is probably the track here that’s most unlike the rest of the band’s recorded output. There’re some nice strings, again, and Minton’s voice takes on a bit of a Tori Amos-like sound beneath, but then the band kicks on the distortion and gets awesomely rough and defiant. It makes me think of sorely-underappreciated ’90s band Magnapop, which is cool, especially since they’re emo in no way, shape, or form.
This right here, this is what Football, etc. have been working towards the whole time. And now they’re here, and it’s freaking great. I want a whole lot more of this; until I can get it, though, I’ll have these four songs on near-infinite repeat.