Alex Pegg

"Vehicles & Animals"

10th June 2005
Album Cover reviewer: Alex Pegg
rating: 4 out of 5
published by: Parlophone
released: 7th April 2003
  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

In the wake of their Mercury Award disappointment what can you expect from Athlete's debut album? Well it's guitar music Jim, but not as we know it. Well actually that's not quite true. Its the sound of a band clearly enjoying making music and not afraid to experiment, but without being self indulgent.

Recent singles ‘Westside’ and ‘You’ve Got The Style’ still sound as fresh and summery as ever and in fact improve with repeated listens and a bit of volume. One Million ends in a kind of drum and bass loop that sounds funky (although probably won't give Goldie any sleepless nights) and 'New Project’s gorgeous melody suddenly switches to a heads-down rocker for a minute in the middle. It keeps you on your toes all the way through. Only the lyrics let them down a little; ‘New Project' tell us “There's a house at the end of the road got no windows and its hard to see what is going on in there”. You don't say? The regular guitar sound is beefed up with a lot of other almost psychedelic sounds under the surface. I imagine its what the Coral would sound like if they’d grown up listening to Pink Floyd instead of the Beatles.

To sum up; in a year when a lot of guitar based albums have proved disappointing (Stand up The Thrills) Athlete's debut album is fresh, warm and life affirming. Just a pity about the crap name really - surely it should have been The Athletes!

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