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Taken as a whole, American Band is the group’s most thematically coherent work since their pinnacle of Jason Isbell-assisted records in the early 2000s. As on similarly nonfictional recent works like Sun Kil Moon’s Benji and Sufjan Stevens’Carrie & Lowell, the mood is almost oppressively dark. “I’m only happy when the sun don’t shine,” Hood sings at one point, ironically in the closest thing the album has to a moment of levity. But even if American Band is not an easy listen, it’s a crucial one: the sound of a band reawakened, seeing things clearly, and horrified by the sight.