Release Date: 09.25.07
After first becoming acquainted with Athlete nearly four years ago with their debut Vehicles & Animals, I almost feel that I have watched the quartet grow from writing pretty pop songs to even larger pop anthems. On the band's third album, Beyond The Neighbourhood, Athlete pull out all the stops and penned tunes that deal with the joys and confusions of everyday living. It's more personal and reflective. Not an easy task, but its one that the group does with ease and certainty.
The mellow instrumental opener, "In Between 2 States," sounds completely opposite of the single-tastic "Hurricane," which begs to be put on a soundtrack. Actually, this is the most upbeat jam on the album. "Tokyo" sounds like it could have come off the cutting room floor from 2005's Tourist. However, it's with the bombastic "Airport Disco" that I am reminded as to why I like this band in the first place. Lush sonic textures present themselves in front of gentle vocals, a nice combination and one that works in their favor. There are some electronic elements that run underneath the album's surface, as in the haunting "Best Not To Think About It" and the mellow "Flying Over Bus Stops."
Overall the work is more relaxed and feels more organic than past efforts. The group has always had somewhat of an earthy vibe (note: not hippy), and it really shines with Beyond The Neighbourhood. Maybe its because they recorded and produced it themselves. Or it could be they are getting comfortable in their skin. Either way this is an album that will not only please older fans, but new ones as well.