The Subways have high school UK punk sound

Josh Nicolay and Melissa Sewel

Josh:

Oh England, our cohort across the Atlantic! You’ve fared us well over these past few decades (musically speaking); gracing our shores with classics such as The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd and The Cure. You’ve remained consistent with your musical gifts, giving us more contemporary artists like Radiohead and PJ Harvey. Us damn Yanks can’t get enough of your music, dear England, so when word spreads of an up-and-coming band rising amongst your ranks, we’re chomping at the bit just to get a taste of what you have to offer.

That being said, let me introduce you to The Subways, a newcomer from deep within the bowels of our sister country (well, London to be precise). The Subways’ freshman set, “Young for Eternity,” is produced by Sire Records, the studio that’s brought us The Von Bondies and The Futureheads (as well as the dreadful rock band H.I.M.).

The Subway’s sound is really nothing innovative or unique, but they pull off their commonplace resonance with the sort of grace and style that can only be pulled off by one of our British counterparts. Lead guitarist/ vocalist Billy Lunn’s voice is similar to the crude sounding vocals of The Verve’s front man Richard Ashcroft, while drummer Josh Morgan and bassist Charlotte Cooper add a distinct flair to the band’s singularity.

With their enjoyable, pop sound, it’s a shame, however, that The Subways somewhat lack in the lyric department. The bland, and often predictable, assemblage of lyrics is saturated with run-of-the-mill love croons and teenage anthems, while the humdrum chorus’ leave no room for allusions.

The saying “mediocrity at it’s finest” is usually taken as a term of endearment, but in The Subways’ case, it’s anything but. With this being their first feature album, there is definitely room for improvement, but this is certainly an album to check out.

***

Melissa:

However horrifying, our high school experiences unquestionably foreshadow the rest of our lives. Did those ditzy cheerleaders tease you? Rest assured, they now have a loveless marriage and four rotten kids. Did you used to read the dictionary during class? You’re destined to be a dork for the rest of your days.

The Subways fall between these two categories. They were the kids that went undetected by the preps but were still way too cool to talk to the likes of you. Their jeans were ripped, their chucks were dirty and their abs were chiseled by God himself.

The Subways’ ripe age (averaging 19 years) has somewhat softened their musical transgressions. The guitar work is a little sloppy, but front man Billy Lunn and bassist Charlotte Cooper have chemistry on stage as well as off.

Lunn’s grimy British accent definitely adds some depth to the repetitive lyrics. The sound is the wailing brat born of a tryst between The Sex Pistols and Oasis. While the lyrics aren’t exactly trite, they are simple and immature. But sometimes simple is sufficient. What better way is there to tell your girlfriend that you love her than to teach her bass guitar, throw her a denim mini-skirt and ask her to be your little rock ‘n’ roll queen?

The critics are hailing The Subways as one of the top three bands to emerge in 2006. This immense compliment comes after only one deliriously short album. What’s so special about these kids? It could be the confident whine and undeniable sex appeal that accompanies their adolescent anthems. But maybe this energetic trio has rekindled nostalgia for something we left behind when we were handed our diplomas. Maybe we’re all getting tired of what Indie has to offer. Maybe we just miss rock ‘n’ roll.