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Athlete Vehicles & Animals

After the punchy "You Got the Style" hit on the island, UK art-pop tarts Athlete found a keyboardist and matured to album-length priorities on Vehicles & Animals. On this album, "Refuse put to good use" cover art gives way to Pavement-inspired, Victor [Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey] Van Vugt-produced smart noodling. Spare trip-hop beats and light guitar underline vocals that wouldn't be out of place in a pub singalong. Song subjects range from light (the title track addresses playtime) to not-so ("Style" tackles the 2001 South London race riots). Vehicles & Animals is an innocuous set list for those that dig UK bounce-and by that we mean the Pogues with Zoloft and better teeth.

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