In a press release for Athlete, they are compared to Parliament, Steely Dan and the Beta Band. I didn't hear anything that reminded me of Parliament or Steely Dan, but the Beta Band comparison is pretty solid and actually leads me into my first bit of analysis.
You know in the movie High Fidelity when John Cusack plays "Dry the Rain" by the Beta Band in the record store? As the song plays, several people ask what he's playing. Well, Athlete is a lot like that. They play the sort of songs that make you stop what you're doing and ask, "Who are these guys?" And then, after you find out who they are, you might just want to head to your nearest record store and add some of their music to your collection. I'm going to throw out another film analogy in describing this album. In Garden State, Natalie Portman wants to share a song by The Shins with Zach Braff just because she likes it so much. There are at least three songs on this album ("Half Light," "Trading Air," and "Yesterday Threw Everything at Me") that are so good, you'd probably want to share them with just about anyone you meet.
Tourist is filled with rich, textured layers of sound. They combine standard instrumentation with keyboards, strings and blips similar to Stereolab. Athlete's sound is pretty mellow, but it's also very big. I don't know many bands I could say that about. And every song on this album is really good. This is an album that I could play on repeat for a long time and not tire of it.
I don't even know what else to say about this album. It's just good music with good lyrics. The best thing I could say is that you should go out, buy this album and experience it for yourself.