Face the Music part one

Athlete – “Tourist”If you combine reflective lyrics, rich guitar tones, the soothing quality of Joel Pott’s voice and an assorted blend of percussive instruments, you wind up with “Tourist,” the sophomore release from the London-based band Athlete.

“Tourist” follows Athlete’s debut CD, “Vehicles and Animals,” which was released in 2003 and sold more than 250,000 copies. Lead singer Pott reflected that the band, a quartet of men who have been friends since the age of 14, had two goals in mind for “Tourist”: to increase the richness of the music and to be more honest and open.

Athlete decided early on that rather than telling people to like the band, it would gradually let people discover it on their own and pass along the music. The buzz growing around Athlete after appearances in Austin during SXSW and in Fort Worth with Switchfoot makes it easy to see why this grassroots approach has been successful for Athlete.

Seeing the band live is like spending time with a really good friend: No matter where the evening goes, you can go into it knowing you’re going to have a good time.

Compared to the self-proclaimed “quirky pop” of “Vehicles and Animals,” “Tourist” deals more with life’s harsh realities. The majority of the songs were inspired by real experiences of the band members, such as being on tour and having to deal with missing people at home.

The most standout song on the album is “Wires,” the band’s first single. The song was written by Pott after the birth of his daughter, who suffered from a seizure just a few hours after birth and had to spend time in the intensive care unit. The song is heartbreaking in both its sincerity and the simplicity of the emotions Pott is feeling.

Each of the 11 tracks on “Tourist” echoes the band members’ desires to be honest in their writing. From the up-tempo catchiness of “Modern Mafia” to the sweet melodies of “Twenty-Four Hours,” “Tourist” is designed to be appealing to any mood.