As Football, etc. prepared for their Japan tour in November, the band’s third and latest LP, Corner (recorded with J. Robbins at the Magpie Cage in Baltimore), sold out on vinyl. This is not at all surprising. The trio has garnered an international following with their self-deprecating indie rock, and critics have rightfully compared them to touchstone emo bands like Braid and Mineral. Corner is once again available on vinyl, and is exceptionally appropriate for days that are so bad you don’t have the energy to complain, but can only sit alone in your living room and stare blankly into the floor as a good record washes over you.
Corner sounds exhausted, like a careerist trudging through the same dull routine every day, padding her bank account while her soul starves and withers away. Even on relatively upbeat songs like the opener “Save,” the band gives the impression of someone who has, with a simple shrug, resigned himself to misery and then calmly talks about his anguish as he would baseball stats or really good vanilla ice cream. Consider, for example, the way frontwoman Lindsay Minton sings, “And if you were a ship / I’d be drowning in your wake / I think that I forgot how to swim.”
Metaphorical death notwithstanding, she sounds a little bored, and forgetting how to swim just means giving up. Minton pairs these drab words with a chord progression that could’ve been transplanted from a pop-punk song. The admixture of happy chords and sad lyrics contributes to the particular apathetic mood the song conjures. Most of us have felt this way: It’s a sunny, balmy weekend, the flowers are fragrant and full of nectar, and people are outside enjoying themselves. All seems right with the world, but your private life, your personal world, is falling apart, and you’re too consumed by your problems to care about the weather or anything else good and beautiful.
In other songs, Minton continues to ruminate on the interplay between the individual’s inner life and the outer world. The two inform each other, but the latter always has greater influence. At least, that’s what Minton suggests in “I Believe:” “You are what others see / so you have to believe.” With the statement “You are what others see” as opposed to “You seem to be what others see” or “You look like what others see,” Minton essentially chimes in with the “others” making pronouncements about this person’s identity.
Probably because this individual plays the role he/she has been commanded to perform, and the performance has dictated his/her beliefs: “You have to believe.” To not believe is to risk being found a fraud. It’s a dangerous kind of method acting.
When you let others determine who and what you are, your inner life becomes public property on which anything can be built. And all the construction erodes your mental health. In the verses of “I Believe,” the chords seem to droop like wilted flowers, like someone hanging her head, burdened by depression.
Available on Community Records, Corner is a great Christmas gift for a friend or family member in need of a good sulk.