August 24, 2008
Their third album “Beyond The Neighbourhood”, frankly, was a big disappointment. Decent songs but it just didn’t really work out. There’s a new album now that starts off with a jumpy, radio-friendly (electro)-rocker Superhuman Touch which is a little Killers-esque, just rounder and more melodic. It’s a strong track that might well draw some attention to this new album.
Unlike the previous albums, “Black Swan” seems to be a little more balanced. It’s not strong enough to help Athlete join the ranks of bands like Feeder, Idlewild, Kaiser Chiefs and other indie/britpop bands like that, but I dare to make a statement that it may rival the band’s debut for their best album.
The album isn’t as over-ambitious as “Tourist” and not so monotonous as “Beyond The Neighbourhood”. There’s a good mix between jumpy, exciting power songs and sober songs to listen to. Aside from the album opener this album features gems like Love Come Rescue, The Unknown, Rubik’s Cube and the breezy Wild Wolves.
“Black Swan” is an album worthy of the band’s status and it feels right. The songs are pleasant to listen to, the arrangements are good and there’s a good balance between tempo, intensity and sentiment. After the impressive debut album, Athlete hasn’t been able to release a steady album. Some songs on the previous two albums were very good, but as an album these releases couldn’t convince. I am glad to say that with “Black Swan”, Athlete reclaims its place among the interesting indie/britpop bands and this album is a great place to start taking steps forward again. Athlete, it is good to have you back!