Twitter is a great way to follow your favourite celebs and athletes, but some of the things they tweet are a little bit careless.
Filled with misspellings, grammatical errors and often times, gibberish that nobody can understand, sometimes I wish there was an autocorrect tool I could use to immediately brush up those mistakes (Don’t blame me! I had to take a grammar exam in first year university!).
But upon seeing some photos of a group of second graders practicing their skills by correcting a bunch of embarrassing tweets by NFL players, I now know that I have faith in the future generation.
Thank God, for the world’s educators. Teaching, you’re doing it right.
You could say that Athlete is part of the new wave. Nope, not that New Wave; what I mean is that the London four-piece has been dubbed by various music pundits as ?neo-Britpop,? as Britpop enjoys a recent upsurge after the initial wave in the mid-?90s.
Many young bands are creating catchy, guitar-driven alt-rock from across the pond, but Athlete managed to break free from the rest of the pack with their debut album Vehicles & Animals, which earned the group a coveted Mercury Prize nomination in 2003. With their 2005 follow-up, Tourist, the band gets more serious and more personal.
?I will bring you stories/And bleary-eyed photos/Like a regular tourist,? promises singer Joel Pott on the smoothly swingy title track, and that line sums up the album nicely. The band moves through the 11 songs like a wide-eyed traveller discovering an unfamiliar landscape, navigating fatherhood, love, and friendship with sweeping guitar hooks, jingly piano chords, and electronic trills and beeps.
The topic of fatherhood is most evident on the hit single ?Wires,? in which Pott recalls his newborn daughter being rushed into intensive care. The imagery is jarring (?You?ve got wires going in/You?ve got wires coming out of your skin?), but the context behind the lyrics puts the song in a whole new light. It?s heartfelt, it?s epic, and when those strings kick in in the middle, you just may find yourself in waterworks city.
?Yesterday Threw Everything At Me? is one of the best songs on the album, with lazy backbeats building to a simple, earnest chorus and dreamy lyrics: ?And I will run with it/And sunlight will break into my eyes/And it seems like you plugged the world in/?cause sunlight is streaming from your eyes.? The band kicks up the pace on ?Modern Mafia,? which has a ?Stayin? Alive?-worthy bounce and strut. It?s a jaunty, straightforward piece which conveys confident bravado and a sense of restlessness.
The main problem with Tourist is that some of the songs, while bright and pretty, miss the mark in terms of connecting with the listener. Low-key tracks like ?Trading Air? show potential but they?re a little too formulaic, a little too safe, and never quite progress to achieve that emotional punch. Meanwhile, songs like opener ?Chances? and ?Half Light? feature dramatic piano chords and big guitar hooks but end up feeling, strangely, a bit empty.
The album closes with the acoustic ?I Love,? whose sparkling minimalist arrangement actually makes it one of the most touching songs on the album. It?s a lovely track that evokes sitting around a campfire with good friends and has all the comforting familiarity of home, a fitting place to end after the long journey the band takes on Tourist. ?Life is beautiful for sure/?cause I love everybody here,? sings Pott, and I?ll be darned if it doesn?t sound like he really means it.
Tourist is a solid and easily listenable album. But overall, it?s just not as exciting, as enthrallingly endearing as some of the other ?Britpop? albums of Athlete?s peers, lacking the gritty, eclectic charm of Snow Patrol?s Final Straw and the ethereal layers of Coldplay?s A Rush of Blood to the Head (the latter band being one to which Athlete seems to draw the most comparisons).
There?s a lot of potential from these talented lads for progression and further experimentation, though. If the band can channel its talents for thoughtful songwriting and creating breezy, quirky tunes, the next album from Athlete could be one to watch out for.
Athlete ? Tourist
Released: March 15, 2005
2. Half Light
4. Trading Air
6. If I Found Out
7. Yesterday Threw Everything At Me
8. Street Map
9. Modern Mafia
10. Twenty Four Hours
11. I Love
The gentlemen of the rock band Athlete, whose second album Tourist debuted at number one in the UK and has already been coloured platinum, visited North America recently hoping to crack another global market.
Their UK tour for late 2005 had already sold out before the band toured the U.S. and Canada last month, and it didn’t take long for them to see a difference in the two audiences.
“The people (in Canada) are generally much more welcoming,” Tim Wanstall, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, tells andPOP while in Toronto.
“I think it’s much more welcoming personally,” adds Carey Willetts, bassist and vocalist. “It’s quite easy and a lot of fun. I’ve really quite enjoyed it so far.”
The band has been on tour since their debut album, Vehicles and Animals, was released in 2003. They recorded and released Tourist right after finishing their last tour.
Willetts’ favourite tour moment actually happened away from the stage.
“In Norway, a couple of years ago, we were sporting Travis around Europe and we were trying to get back from one of our most northerly gigs. On the way back at about three or four in the morning, the bus starting moving weirdly back down the road. The bus was sliding down the road because it was snowing quite heavily,” he recalls. “So we got the bus to the side of the road but we couldn’t go any further.” Earlier in the tour they had picked up a couple of sleds, and, “got out a bottle of whisky and a pipe and sledded down this main road in Norway.”
Their new album is one that reflects their experiences and growth as a band and as individuals. The band decided not only to enrich the sound of their music, but make this album a personal one. Wires is a perfect example. The song is about lead singer Joel Pott’s experience with the birth of his child.
The album is a very deep soul searching adventure with a style of sound that can captivate and inspire. Tourist is in stores now and you can look for Athlete’s return to Canada around September.