My Main Sport by Chicago indie dream pop band American Wolf was born out of trouble. Recorded over the span of nine months, the band hoped to encapsulate their musical vision in its entirety, making this their definitive statement. The band was divided over production and mixing details, and it was threatening to tear the band apart. They did lose a member in the process, but My Main Sport persevered and saw the light of day, two months late.
It was worth the struggles, and worth the wait, as My Main Sport is a lush, classic-sounding record, that will be come to be known not only as American Wolf's high water mark, but also as a dream rock classic, being ranked besides traditionals like Cocteau Twins or The Sundays' Blind, as well as modern reverb worship from Beach House and Warpaint. American Wolf does its dream pop right. Everything hangs together, creating a vaporous illusion that is so real, so deep, so convincing, that you can reach out and touch it. It's like, with the opening marching snare and kaleidoscope guitar, the curtain parts and you step inside My Main Sport. You can stay as long as you like.
The spell is mainly thanks to the siren call of singer (I'm assuming that’s who it is since performances aren't credited) Hristo Mintchev, and the upbeat syncopation of the electric guitars. Between the guitar and the drums, who play brilliantly together, American Wolf's dreaminess is much funkier than the relatively dour and white bread sounds of the Goth set.
These guitars and drums are frosted over with a lot of lovely additions, like the burning organ of "May,” or the swooning synths of "My Main Sport.” Sometimes it’s painted over with... more guitars, like album opener "Our Weight,” when it bursts into a Catherine wheel of post-rock, those big climactic choruses like Explosions Of The Sky. While the crescendos have been worked into artful pop for a number of years, no one has seemed to master the transition yet, but American Wolf is working on the formula.
My Main Sport is a cohesive listen, even while the individual songs vary in mood and tempo. There's not a bad moment, never a mis-step, just a beautiful bejeweled dream to bask in repetitively. The vocals are a little reminiscent of the leading lights of dream pop, most specifically the coo of Beach House's Victoria La Grande, but that's no bad thing. I suspect that as American Wolf sticks around, they will flourish into their own hallucinogenic flower. In three years time, people will be trying to sound like this vocalist.
My Main Sport sounds entirely pro, fully realized. It hangs in a nimbus of glowing reverb that bathes the guitars, drums and vocals in warm light. It's a lulling dream that is still adventurous and exciting and that I highly, highly recommend.
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