Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
Unashamedly cheerful, should be available on prescription
on 1 October 2003
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. There are some poignant moments too - 'New Project' for instance, with the lyric 'Imagine this is all you ever had', and the title track, where Pott croons gently along with acoustic guitar, daring you to join him, until the whole band comes in a wonderful coda
Naturally the album has its weaknesses, like 'Out Of Nowhere' - a daft track that just sounds plain weird after the non-stop cheeriness of the whole album. I'm not even sure that the heavy guitar break on 'New Project' was necessary, it always wakes me up when I'm trying to drift off. But these are minor blemishes on an unabashedly happy, bright and summery record that offers something a little different. If you want a walk in the sunshine, or you're driving home on a Friday, put this on, and you'll get home in a defiantly pleasant mood.