Athlete formed in 1999, as a group of school friends began recording demos in a pub basement in south London. While their early releases did bother the airwaves, it wasn't until 2003's debut album 'Vehicles and Animals' was a belated hit that Athlete really got going.
But then things took off. The follow-up to 'Vehicles and Animals', 2005's Tourist, was a massive hit, reaching No 1 and selling more than half a million copies. Singles success was more hit-and-miss, 'Wires' - written as lead singer Joel Potts' new-born baby lay in intensive care - was a commercial highlight, earning Athlete an Ivor Novello award for songwriting. Other tracks were released to more muted success.
For many, Tourist - a work of artful songwriting and anthemic grace - remains Athlete's creative peak and it proved a tough act to follow. Third album, 'Beyond the Neighbourhood', reached no 5 in 2007 and single Hurricane made playlists at Radio 2 and XFM but the critical response was lukewarm.
But Athlete have proved that they're in it for the marathon, not just the sprint [ouch! - Ed] and 2009's Black Swan saw a US release and a handful of notable singles. In early 2011, Athlete played a one-off 'stripped back' gig in London and enjoyed it so much they decided to take it on tour.
Athlete will be playing seventeen stripped-back dates in July, starting at the Globe in Cardiff on the 11th, with the last date in Birmingham on the last day of the month. In between, Athlete visit Manchester, Portsmouth, London and Oxford, among others. Support comes from The Robot Heart for some dates, My First Tooth for others, with both joining Athlete at the Union Chapel gig on 22nd July.
Tickets go on sale at 9AM on Friday 27th May, ranging from £18 to £22.50 regionally, £23.50 for London.