Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Athlete - Vehicles & Animals


Oooh, ooh Athlete!  Such a good album and we don't play it enough (YourZ sez: although we played it lots and lots when we first got it).  The rollicking opener, El Salvador, is such a sing-a-long number it's now surfacing on my lips at odd moments - in the lift, making a cuppa...

In that way they're pretty typical of a good British pop band, because they tend to demand a bit of sing-a-long-ness in the UK.  Something to do with pubs and jukeboxes, I gather.  And just to share with you my recipe for a sure-fire pop hit - make sure you include some la-la-las and at least one Baby.  You're welcome.

Vehicles & Animals earned the band a Mercury prize nomination (they lost to Dizzee Rascal) and their next album, Tourist, was the one that shot them to fame. But not in THIS house, because it was this CD that got some serious heavy play when it first came home, and continues to jump out of the set of drawers we use as storage on a regular basis.  Although not so much recently.  Let's change that. 



Oh, what a wonderful album this is, full of smart, well-humoured songs, great musicianship and bright production.  This is British pop elevated to another level, beyond those of the usual suspects (Coldplay, for instance).  I still don't understand that phenomenon when bands such as this are streets ahead, as far as I'm concerned.

Admittedly, we haven't heard anything beyond Vehicles & Animals, their debut.  But as Mine points out, their follow up Tourist won them high critical praise and commercial success, so it must be at least as good as this.  As she also points out, these songs have a way of staying with you well after listening to them, which is only a good thing.

These tracks aren't just put together.  There has been a lot of thought gone into the arrangements, which included bits of electronica, scratches, blips and other noises, all adding to the overall listening pleasure.  At the same time, they know when to strict back instrumentation and let the vocals carry the song.  It really is a well-rounded listeners delight and does make me wonder why it's languished in our collection for so long without a listen.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP oh, this is beautiful - I've got to soak it up, got to soak it up

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