Described on their Facebook page as “ambient, indie, post rock”, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Athletics’ debut release Why Aren’t I Home?. Could something really be ambient, indie, and post rock, and actually work? Well, it seems that yes, yes it can. From the outset, the opening track, bearing the same name as the album, is Athletics’ way of saying “Here we are. This is what we do.”

While the first three songs kind of morph into one another, number four, “Jordan,” steps back for a breather and showcases the band’s delicate, melodic side. In its essence, “Jordan” is melancholy, but the band’s tendency to paint melancholy on a backdrop of theatrics is evident as the song leers forward towards the end into their signature noisy, monumental style.

One slightly negative response regarding Why Aren’t I Home? is that quite often, the lead vocal is set back in the mix among all the soaring guitars and cloaked with reverb, thus making the lyrics somewhat unclear. This is perhaps an aesthetic choice on their part, and it certainly does add a subtly interesting texture to the production. But from a listener’s point of view it’s sometimes irking that the lyrics aren’t totally clear.

“Lullaby”, “August”, and “It’s Night It’s Enough” are all solid tracks, though they follow the same structure of “quiet; a bit louder; a bit louder; LOUD!!!!” and the penultimate track, “Affliction” is pretty and ambient, and sounds like it should be the soundtrack to a movie in a scene where the character is dying from some kind of terribly sad disease.

The highlight of the record is the epic finale, “The Cost Of Living,” which is pretty much pure brilliance and will probably make you feel victorious for no reason in particular. On the whole, this is a definitely decent album. It shows a substantial maturity in a debut release and sets Athletics up for a hopefully prosperous and successful future.

Track Listing:

01. Why Aren’t I Home
02. See You On The Other Side
03. Fairview
04. Jordan
05. Speaking For Everyone
06. I Am Withdrawal
07. Lullaby
08. August
09. It’s Night It’s Enough
10. Affliction
11. The Cost Of Living

Run Time: 44:14
Release Date: October 22, 2010