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Black Swan

Athlete

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Album Review

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that “Wires,” Athlete's highest-charting single to date, is also one of their more subdued tunes. Since the release of Vehicles & Animals in 2003, the group has been universally compared to Coldplay, another British band with a penchant for soaring, supersized pop songs. By occasionally turning down the volume and settling into a soft-spoken groove, however, Athlete have been able to carve out their own space in the pop landscape. Accordingly, the best track on Athlete's fourth album is “Love Come Rescue,” an acoustic ballad that, like “Wires,” sounds significantly quieter than the songs surrounding it. Sparse and haunting, it’s a reminder of the raw talent that exists beneath the band’s swirling guitar riffs and effects pedals. Black Swan still concerns itself with anthems — there are many of them here, and most are more than four-minutes long — but the track list is broken up by the occasional ballad, and the tracks that do pump up the volume do so with a nuanced, mature approach. Black Swan is a sign of progress, and the band would do well to follow its path on future releases.

Biography

Formed: 2000 in Deptford, South London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Years before the popular single "Wires" nearly topped the U.K. charts, Athlete was yet another Oasis-styled outfit from South London. Childhood friends Carey Willets (bass), Joel Pott (vocals, guitar), Steve Roberts (drums), and Tim Wanstall (keyboards) formed the group in early 2000, initially modeling their sound after that of the famed Gallagher brothers. Athlete eventually transformed itself into an experimental indie rock act, however, and the band's self-titled EP appeared on Regal Recordings...
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Black Swan, Athlete
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