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Houston’s Football, Etc. nudge emo’s familiar tropes in new directions

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At times I wonder if musicians who have gone fishing for gold in 90s-era emo are aware of the cliche frequently misattributed to Albert Einstein: the definition of insanity is repeating something over and over again in hopes of getting a different result. Houston fourth-wave emo trio Football, Etc. realize it takes just a bit of subtlety to unlock hidden powers in the gently recycled, plaintive melodies of emo’s yesteryear—even a slight shift in the breeze over the guitar chords can suddenly make everything feel both familiar and completely different. On their third full-length, May’s Corner (Community), Football, Etc. sound capable of shifting concrete; they’re precise and focused—not a word often associated with the emo of yore—and they find ways to improve on the genre as it exists today. The looping guitar riff that slowly builds through “U20” should feel familiar to anyone able to recognize the Crank! Records logo, while Football Etc.’s sturdy approach to emo’s sky-scraping lunges brings new shades and colors to the heavens they explore.   v

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