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Vehicles & Animals

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Amazon's Athlete Store


Image of album by Athlete


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For almost 1,500 years, Europeans used the supposedly mythical black swan as a metaphor for something which could not exist. Imagine their surprise, then, when a late 17th Century explorer spotted one, paddling down a river in Australia. "Millions of people had looked at the world in a certain way for so long," says Athlete frontman Joel Pott "But it only took one sighting to ... Read more in Amazon's Athlete Store

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Vehicles & Animals + Tourist + Beyond the Neighbourhood
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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 April 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00008IHVF
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,223 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. El Salvador
2. Westside
3. One Million
4. Shake Those Windows
5. Beautiful
6. New Project
7. You Got The Style
8. Vehicles & Animals
9. Out Of Nowhere
10. Dungeness
11. You Know
12. Le Casio

Product Description

Product Description

CD PARLOPHONE, 5822912, 12 Track

It's a shame that Britpop brings up memories of dull guitar-rock traditionalists stuck in thrall to the spirit of the 60s, because it's very tempting to dub Athlete's debut album, Vehicles and Animals, a minor British pop classic. The work of an East London quartet with a wry observational eye and a sound planted somewhere between Squeeze, XTC and Blur from the time of Modern Life Is Rubbish, Vehicles and Animals is a success of subtle experimentalism, box-twiddling electronic trickery and brightly optimistic pop nous. "You Got the Style" tackles racial unrest in multicultural London with a sunbeam of pure positivity, frontman Joel Pott offering "We should be laughing about it / Making the most of the true British climate" as Tim Wanstall's synth-lines bounce like stray beach balls.

Sure, Athlete specialise in big, neon sing-along choruses--see the glimmering "El Salvador", the sprawling wonder of "Beautiful"--but their approach is tempered with a very pretty vulnerability. "Westside" opens with a hushed acoustic lead-in where Pott's cracked, fragile vocal shakily tests out the chorus--"Wherever you look you can see / Everybody wants to be part of the rock scene"--before the song explodes into life. It's the sort of sunny disposition that could almost define a new British climate. Looks like it's turned out nice again. --Louis Pattison

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Siragher on 1 Oct. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Look around the British music rock scene at the moment, and though it's undeniably flourishing, it's all just a little dark. Hail To The Thief, A Rush Of Blood To The Head, Think Tank, Sleeping With Ghosts - all uplifing in their own way, but none of them make you smile stupidly and nod your head and sway with the beat. If you're missing the summer and want to inject some fun into your CD collection, look no further than Athlete.
From the moment you slip the record into the player, and the first slightly distorted drum beats of 'El Salvador' begin to play, you can't help but tap your feet. Ignore the fact that it sounds a lot like Avril Lavigne's 'Complicated', it's better, and happier. And the mood doesn't stop - on single 'Westside', the band even helpfully shout out 'Chorus!' as your cue to start singing. The vocalist Joel Pott's friendly vocal twang complements everything the band play - whether it's skitting hip-hop drum machine on 'One Million' or the brilliantly witty singalong of 'Dungeness'. 'You Got The Style', amazingly about the racial divide, is another fantastic karaoke song, though it manages to be serious as well as great fun.
There are, granted, slower tracks, but not Radiohead or Coldplay slow. 'Shake Those Windows' and 'Beautiful' are stunning, maintaining the easy melodic flow whilst sounding just a little less manically happy. The former has the most instantly likeable chorus I've heard in many years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By gabby on 31 Aug. 2005
Format: Audio CD
I bought this after I bought Tourist and am now contradicting myself by saying this one is so much better. It's not trying to be something else like Tourist is, and whereas Tourist is a good album, Vehicles and Animals is one you will not want to stop listening to.
Anyone who likes good music will love this album, and if you like Athlete's latest offerings but thought they were all a bit samey after a while then try this and it will be a breath of fresh air. I hope on Athlete's 3rd album they return to this formula which is so uplifting and a million times better than their just-a-tiny-bit-dreary-and-boring new style.
Every track is good, but stand-outs for me are:
The catchy, feel-good El Salvador
Beautiful - slow, anthemic, "beautiful"
You Got the Style - impossibly catchy
New Project - a lovely melody and every time you hear the opening line you will have to sing along
Vehicles and Animals - The Title track of the album has a beautiful message, fantastic lyrics and a sing along gorgeous chorus.
Out of Nowhere - quite upbeat but very different to the rest of the album
Dungeness - Great chorus
Le Casio - the perfect ending to the album.
without realising I have listed almost the entire album so there you are, buy it! Even if you haven't liked songs like "Wires" although at times you can hear the resemblance in this album, you should still try it because it's completely different.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "jimbob_bite" on 5 Aug. 2003
Format: Audio CD
This album was a long time coming - like other reviewers here I first heard Athlete on London's XFM and then waited well over a year for the album to eventually come out. Frustrating though the wait was, it was most certainly worth it. Listening to this album puts me in mind of the first time I heard The Stone Roses - Athlete has the same sing-along-a quality that the early Roses stuff had, combined with haunting vocals and (incredibly) catchy tunes. And like 'The Stone Roses,' it's still sounding fresh three months later. There can be no higher recommendation in my book.
Part of me was hoping that this album would be one of those underground delights that only a select few 'in the know' types had - but recent TV advertising has put paid to that. And I suppose that's no bad thing. Go out and buy it and make these guys a roaring success, for the sake of the future of the British music industry. Can't wait for more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. W. B. Waddell on 11 April 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The above words are difficult to say of most "new" acts trying to breakthrough into the mainstream today. Of Athlete, however, they are wholly accurate. "Vehicles & Animals", the album, is a classy journey through life in London, life in a band, and life through childhood. The title track deals with the innocence and simplicity of childhood reminding the listener of their own days as a child, being content for hours on end with their toys. "El Salvador", the opening track, takes us through the time since the band were signed to Parlaphone, the label of The Beatles, Radiohead, Coldplay and other class acts. "Westside" is about the rock scene that Athlete themselves were part of but left behind favouring a more eclectic sound. "You've got the style" refers to the Oldham race riots while "Dungeness" is based on a day trip that front man, Joel Pott, took with this family. "Beautiful" is a stunning anthemic track dealing with the longing to explore a new sound with the passionate cry "Oh, this is beautiful, I've got to soak it up, I've got to soak it up."
Hailing from Deptford, Athlete are definitely a British band with a big British sound. However, there are too many influences to pinpoint the band's music. One could list The Flaming Lips, Pavement, XTC, Steely Dan, Granddaddy, Blur, Beck, Mercury Rev, Gomez, Turin Breaks, The Divine Comedy, and even The Beach Boys, but still be no closer to nailing down the Athlete sound. Just when you think you have it sussed, something happens to throw you off course. This is what makes the four-piece from South London so unique. In all, this is a fine piece of work which brings much needed hope to the current British music scene. May they succeed and may all bands longing to be part of the rock scene take note: Athlete are carrying the torch for the music world's Olympiad, exercise your creative muscles or get ready to suffer the consequences.
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