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ATHLETE
TOURIST
ASTRALWERKS

Either imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery among British bands or the proliferation of artists eager to jump on whatever musical trend hits Top of the Pops and then break through in the US is a reflection of how small England is. In any case, this yearís model are Coldplay, and Athlete are among a bevy of new/newish Britpoppers (Snow Patrol, Keane, Embrace) eager to flatter by embracing the plaintive anthemic crescendi and earnest delivery of Chris Martin and company. Athlete were on a post-Bends bender when they emerged with last yearís Vehicles and Animals, an eccentric pop outing that drew its own melodic conclusions from Radioheadís electro-organic experiments. This time, singer/guitarist Joel Pott streamlines Athleteís approach. (His reward: a #1 album in GB.) He doesnít have Martinís falsetto, but he does have Coldplayís knack for mixing and matching simple guitar hooks with sullen piano chordings and yearning lyrics delivered with equal parts hope and despair. Over a stark backdrop of piano chords, Pott offers obvious bits of wisdom ("Take all your chances while you can/You never know when theyíll pass you by") before strings and massed guitars arrive like a welcome rush of blood to the head on "Chances." Itís entirely expected, and entirely effective.

Athlete | T.T. the Bearís Place, 10 Brookline St, Cambridge | Sept 15 | 617.492.BEAR

BY MATT ASHARE


Issue Date: September 16 - 22, 2005
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