August 2, 2002
Athlete : London Camden Dingwalls
...they turn the 'intimate' club into a roofless stadium full to the brim with vast sweaty singalongs...
Humility is an underrated virtue, but one that South London's Athlete have in spades. Most bands with a bona fide daytime radio-conquering single (the delightful 'You Got The Style') would be throwing hissy fits about playing a snug Camden sweatbox. Not Athlete. No, for them it's wide eyed smiles from the off, as they turn the 'intimate' club into a roofless stadium full to the brim with vast sweaty singalongs. What's so amazing is the effortless ease with which they pull it off - they're ready to take on the world. Combining the grit-strewn street sensibilities of The Smiths with the cosmic wanderlust of defunct indie-prog hopes Ultrasound, 'Westside' simmers nicely in the warm bubble of classic Pavement. All in all, pretty grounded.
But then something truly magical happens: 'Beautiful' explodes with the kind of anthemic grandeur only Coldplay could reach. With a chorus bursting with wistful brilliance, 'Beautiful' will be song of the year when it's released in September, no contest. We strongly advise that you learn these words now: "Oh, this is beautiful…" Athlete are, and that's all you need to know.
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