Album: Athlete

Tourist, PARLOPHONE
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The Independent Culture

My, but this is rubbish. The kind of rubbish a record company might put their weight behind if they were trying to emulate the success of their most profitable contemporary acts (Coldhead and Radioplay), without risking the possibility of difficult, potentially uncommercial "new directions" a few albums down the line. No chance of that with the dullard Athlete, a combo apparently bereft of either original ideas or, by the sound of it, record collections that extend beyond the standard Keaneplay template. There seem to be no musical ambitions whatsoever in evidence on Tourist, whose glum piano ballads could have been plotted according to some evil business plan every bit as damaging to pop culture as anything Simon Cowell has cooked up. It's the kind of music the CIA might use to break the will of Latin American druglords, full of the bogus emotional lip-service that characterises so much of today's self-pitying sixth-form "serious" rock music. Never are Athlete's protestations of desire and heartbreak desire remotely convincing; they sound like the rote bleatings of someone who'd quite like to be considered deep and sensitive - full of self-infatuated first-person-singulars mooning over thinly sketched objects of desire who exist only to mirror the songwriter's one true love (himself). Please make it stop, someone.

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