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Athlete – Tourist

Whatever happened to Athlete? Their 2003 debut, Vehicles And Animals, was a likeable, lightweight oddity: sweet, shuffling songs about aimless afternoons picking pebbles in Dungeness, like Squeeze remixed for Jamie Oliver. But Tourist begins earnestly – “Take your chances while you can, you never know when they’ll pass you by” – and continues through 11 torpid ballads, drained of all their earlier quirks, seemingly laboratory-designed for those who find Keane too edgy. “All I Need” attempts uplift, declaring that “the world has got to have soul” (complete with gospel choir, in case we miss the point), but overall Tourist is relentlessly unadventurous: a generic snapshot of current MOR Britrock.
By Stephen Trousse