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Beyond The Neighbourhood

Athlete's third effort Beyond The Neighbourhood goes some way to restoring their initial well-deserved kudos.

Rating: 7 / 10

Mark Keane, 03 Oct 2007

Athlete’s quirky debut Animals and Vehicles marked them out as rising indie-pop stars. The follow-up, Tourist, worryingly shifted the emphasis to soporific, Radox-rock balladry. Happily, their third effort Beyond The Neighbourhood goes some way to restoring their initial well-deserved kudos.

At their best, Athlete prove that, even relying on the familiar formula of shimmering guitars, slick grooves and anodyne electronics, you can still create something individual and honest, without sounding like ten-a-penny Coldplay copyists. ‘Airport Disco’, ‘Second Hand Stores’ and the deliciously cosmic ‘Flying Over Bus Stops’ – the soundtrack to your next astral projection - offer testament to the band’s instincts for blinding pop tunes.

If only they trusted these instincts a little more. Alas, the record finishes with a whimper rather than a bang, petering out with back-to-back turkeys ‘Best Not To Think About It’, and ‘This Is What I Sound Like’. At its best, though, Beyond The Neighbourhood is mesmerising.

Rating: 7 / 10
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An elegant, effecting melody blessed with a stunning vocal, this is the kind of record that recent history has proved reaches far more than just the faithful few.

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