Athlete - Tourist



First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2005, Volume 12, #9

Written by John Metzger


Is the world big enough for more one Coldplay? Much like Keane and Snow Patrol, Athlete is betting the farm that it is. On its sophomore effort Tourist, the band trades the indie rock etchings of its debut Vehicles & Animals for a simpler, more conventional sound, but although it strives for majestic, melodramatic melancholia, it largely achieves mere syrupy superficiality. Delivering lyrics that are full of heartache and yearning, lead singer Joel Potts relishes his new role as a purveyor of sensitive-guy vulnerability while, swirling around him, the music routinely alternates between its quiet verses and its loud choruses, incorporating along the way an array of gimmicks plucked from the playbook of overwrought emotion. A string section bursts as if on cue during the opening Chances; a gospel choir attempts to bring salvation to If I Found Out; and throughout the endeavor, a myriad of electronic effects frolics amidst Potts’ mournful musings. Occasionally Athlete stumbles upon success — the soul-drenched groove of the title track or the infectious charm of Half Light, for example. For the most part, however, Tourist’s grandiose gestures not only fall flat, but also land with a resoundingly dull thud. starstar ˝

Tourist is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2005 The Music Box