September 3, 2007
In Between 2 States
The album opener, In Between 2 States, has a great build up and is a musical masterpiece that sets perfectly in the beginning of Athlete’s newest album. It works to a climax and the all instrumental intro to the CD is not only well arranged as well perfectly chosen to open this musicfest.
Hurricane shows that Athlete has continued to grow. A little more influences from the synth creates a more driving force in the music, which makes it instantly more energetic and the vocals and music still combine like they were made for it. The musical arrangement is well-balanced and Hurricane has definitely radio potential.
The energetic ‘made-to-be-a-radio-hit’ song Tokyo is up next. The Air Traffic-like guitar work and the angsty vocals combined with the catchy rhythm/melody that you just cannot get out of your head makes a song that could promise good times for Athlete. Tokyo is one of the best songs on this album, and a good choice for a radio single.
The build up in Airport Disco is rather slow and the song doesn’t really capture my attention, and in the spare moments it does it can’t really keep me focused on the song. It just misses a little bit in the connection-department.
It’s Not Your Fault
This is one of my favorite songs on “Beyond The Neighbourhood”. At times it reminds me of a milder version of Fiction Plane, another band from the UK. The song is musically wonderful and the lyrics are pretty clever too. It has a real indie feel to it and it is performed with a deep sense of emotion. And the further you get into the song, the catchier it gets.
The Outsiders is a really interesting song, with a different influence and a different outcome. It took me a little time to get used to but the song’s actually quite interesting and well-done. It has a lo-fi feel and a very underground approach, and this really adds to the song and lifts it up better. That and the passionate vocals make this song one of the album’s highlights.
Flying Over Bus Stops
I’m not too big a fan of Flying Over Bus Stops. It’s too clinical for me, I do not hear enough of the passion and emotion that I know this band holds. I do have to admit that this song is musically profound. It’s a very sophisticated, modern indie-pop song with a very decent build-up, but it doesn’t really light the fire in me, unfortunately.
Second Hand Stores
Second Hand Stores is by far the very best song on this album. You can hear the old school Athlete in it, yet it is exactly fitting with today’s indie music climate. The passionately performed vocals, the perfectly arranged and balanced keys and the energetic build-up make this song very memorable, and show that Athlete is a band with a musical talent that should be recognized. Please let this be a follow-up single!
In The Library
Athlete continues very strong with In The Library. Even though it’s yet another synth-fronted indie-pop song, it’s one that is memorable amongst its peers. The vocals (as always) are top quality and musically this is at least as good as Coldplay or Delaware. It’s top quality indie-rock from English soil, which still seems to be a breeding ground for talent in the indie-scene.
Best Not To Think About It
This isn’t a bad song, but it isn’t a great song either. It’s a good listen, but after a couple of listens it does get kind of repetitive. It doesn’t really get boring, but it doesn’t really fills you with excitement either after a couple listens. Lyrically it’s great, but the band could’ve done a little more musically in my opinion.
This Is What I Sound Like
Athlete leaves us in an extremely satisfying way. With This Is What I Sound Like, the band fulfills their promise. This song is great in all its aspects and just about rivals Second Hand Stores for the title of best track on the album. The build-up is splendid, the lyrics are among today’s finest and the band just really got into this epic song to get out everything they possibly could. Listen to the haunting sound and how they slowly work towards the song’s climax. It’s a true work of art.
“Beyond the Neighbourhood” shows that Athlete has gained affection for synthesizers more and more. This works really well for their energy, but Athlete’s wonderful, passionate and intimate acoustic basis is fading on this album. Maybe a middle way between the acoustic-based Britpop and the energy of the full-rich synth-based sound (which is more indie I suppose) would be the golden middle path for this band. Nevertheless, “BTN” is a very strong album, though I don’t think the band acted completely in their comfort zone.