Similarly, there are times when I feel a little guilty for my habit of lazily attacking a band via their audience, but this isn't one of them. The crowd Athlete attract - the contented bourgeoisie at their most piggish, with their rugger shirts and their straw-haired girlfriends - really are the pits. These are people who leave the radio on all day at work but never really listen. And Athlete make music which is so ideal for this purpose that it might almost be commissioned to order: the ideal marriage of consumer and product.
There's a glut of this mid-paced, adult-oriented stuff around at the moment. But in terms of excitement, Athlete make James Blunt sound like Motorhead.
Lyrically they're impossibly banal. "Vehicles And Animals" has one interesting line about Liverpool's "Stevie G" and "the ease with which he seems to pull those tricks", but "El Salvador" is depressingly apolitical for a song with that title, and couplets like "Life is beautiful for sure/ Cos I love everybody" are their standard fare.
Nor are they blessed with charisma. Joel Pott makes a fumbling dedication to the people of London after the "weirdness" of the last month. "We're a mixed bunch" is about as eloquent as he gets.
Intoducing yet another of their interchangeable plodders, carefully paced at a speed where you can sway from side to side without spilling your pint, Pott rambles "We're gonna play a bit of a mellow one now..." (What, another one?) "So. In this beautiful location... These alls... They... hear shit."
Yes. That is what they hear.