Let’s face it – the Subways are doomed. Not only is their guitarist (Billy Lunn) engaged to their bass player (Charlotte Cooper), but they’ve got Billy’s younger brother Josh Morgan playing drums. Perhaps even more importantly, they’re all under 21. Seriously, haven’t these people ever seen Fleetwood Mac’s “Behind the Music?” Wasn’t Rumours based on just these kinds of shenanigans? Perhaps the Subways have never witnessed the Gallagher brothers angrily yell insults at one another as they stumble around the stage. Either way, this seems like a powder keg waiting to go off.
If the trio can mange to make it into their mid-twenties without dramatically imploding, they just might make a great band, as evidenced by their debut, Young for Eternity. Lunn and Cooper take turns with vocals a la Kim Deal and Black Francis of the Pixies on songs like “Rock & Roll Queen.” Admittedly, the lyrics aren’t the most intellectual around, with pick up lines like “You are so cool / You are my rock and roll queen,” but Lunn’s voice helps lend the act some credibility. What the Subways truly excel at is effortlessly blending genres. At times the Subways seem to be mirroring Detroit garage rock bands like the Von Bondies, while on other tracks – like the album-opening “I Want to Hear What You Have Got to Say” – the mood is a bit more varied. Herein, the song jumps from Lunn and an acoustic guitar to a rollicking blast of musical energy with Josh brining up the rear on drums. “Lines of Light” seems to be channeling the aforementioned British heavyweights, Oasis, as the track is leaden with heavy production and otherworldly sounds. Are the Subways musical masters of their own destiny, or are they confused young wannabes who lack the discipline needed to choose one particular genre and stay with it? Either certainly is possible, but with danceable rhythms that rival Britain’s other “it band” of the moment, the Arctic Monkeys, more people would probably side with the latter. For that matter, most people are probably eagerly awaiting the sophomore album. Let’s just hope those crazy kids can keep it together that long.
[Bradley Vargyas mixes business and pleasure like a true professional.]