Friday, 13 February 2015

Flynndie Reviews #53: The Subways - The Subways

Written 13th February 2015

The Subways – The Subways

The Band: Billy Lunn (vocals/guitar), Charlotte Cooper (vocals/bass), Josh Morgan (drums)

This week saw the return of the high-spirited, enthusiastic and energetic three-piece The Subways with the release of their self-titled fourth album ‘The Subways’.  The band arrived on the scene around 2005 with their excellent debut album ‘Young for Eternity’ which captured their dynamic and energetic live shows with great Indie-rock tracks like ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen’ and ‘Oh Yeah’, while still showing a tender side to the band with some lighter, poppy tracks (‘Mary’, ‘Young for Eternity’) and some gentle acoustic numbers with ‘No Goodbyes’ being a fine example. 

This was followed by 2008’s ‘All or Nothing’ which saw the band offering some harder, intense rock particularly the excellent opener ‘Girls and Boys’ and other tracks building from their debut record with ‘Shake! Shake!’ showcasing the complimentary vocals between Billy and Charlotte and how well this vocal partnership works for the band.  ‘Strawberry Blonde’ was another fine moment from this record again highlighting the beautiful, tender side The Subways can also offer.

Much like their third album ‘Money and Celebrity’, the band started a new Pledge Music campaign to help support the release of their latest album and have provided fans with regular updates and exclusives through the Pledge Music website so if you previously missed the campaign feel free to check out their project page here:

So in true Billy fashion let’s stage-dive right into the latest record and check out how the latest offering from The Subways sounds.

The Subways

1. My Heart Is Pumping to a Brand New Beat
2. I’m In Love and it’s burning in My Soul
3. Taking all the Blame
4. Dirty Muddy Paws
5. Good Times
6. Because of You (Negative Love)
7. Just Like Jude
8. We Get Around
9. Pet Boy
10. Black Letter
11. Twisted Game
12. Is That Enough

With an up-tempo guitar riff ‘My Heart Is Pumping to a Brand New Beat’ was previously previewed early by the band as part of their Pledge Music campaign and is familiar territory for them, with a fun, energetic groove at the heart of the track and sees Billy on vocals for its verses while Charlotte takes over vocal duties for the chorus “When you’re with me on the dancefloor/My heart is pumping to a brand new beat/Everything I ever cared for/Everything I always wanted to be”.  ‘I’m In Love and it’s Burning My Soul’ follows on with short, sharp power chords and building percussion from Josh while also featuring some short, sharp one-liners from Billy “You know I want it/Cause it’s mine/I got something/Something on my mind” before Charlotte takes over again for the chorus “I’m in love yeah/I’m in love yeah/And it’s burning at my soul”.  It’s another fun, full-on rock track.  ‘Taking All the Blame’ is a lovely semi-acoustic, rock number and as Billy previously revealed in a Pledge update for the album, is a very honest and personal track as Billy and Charlotte share their views with each other on their previous relationship together “What can I do/Do you want me on my knees/What shall I give/One hundred more apologies”, showing the true strength of their friendship and honesty with each other here.

‘Dirty Muddy Paws’ is another full-on, lively rock number with a really nice sonic riff from Billy speeding right through the heart of it while ‘Good Times’ features short, sharp, angst guitar riffs pulsing away at it and featuring some very personal lyrics from Billy here “I wanna live and never die/I’m never giving up the fight/I wanna sing I wanna breath” and a strong chorus “And when I wake up in the morning/Yeah when the sun shines bright/The sun shines bright/I wanna feel the day is calling/I wanna see the good times/The good times”.  Midway through the record we have an incredibly beautiful acoustic ballad ‘Because of You (Negative Love)’.  Featuring soft acoustic guitars and gentle backing piano this track sees Billy on top-form with his vocals and lyrics “What once I was/No longer/Because of you/I’m stronger/I’ll never break/This promise/Because of you/I’m honest”.  This is a truly lovely track.  Charlotte picks up vocal duties again on ‘Just like Jude’ a fun, light-hearted romp of a track with high-spirited punk at its heart and clocking in quickly at just under 2 minutes before ‘We Get Around’ brings more heavy-rock riffs and Billy delivering lines like there’s no tomorrow and I particularly like the line “You’re a saviour of rock ‘n’ roll” before Charlotte chips in with a nicely delivered “Come on!”  ‘Pet Boy’ sees all three members of the band on fine-form with some more power-rock, Billy’s guitar and Charlotte’s bass duelling throughout while Josh’s thunderous drumming provides the battleground for both.

With what I would possible describe as quite an eclectic blend of hip-hop and guitar-rock ‘Black Letter’ opens with Billy and Charlotte both chanting “Pack up with your broken bones/Pack up with your broken bones/Pack up with your broken box” before Billy deliciously snarls the track-title over the chorus “You wrote me a blaaaaack letteeeeer!” and this track very much reminds me of the sound of The Pixies.  Another highly-energetic, up-tempo number ‘Twisted Game’ sees the band delivering some more power-rock with Billy delivering lyrics like there is no tomorrow “Wake up it’s a goddamn beautiful day” before Charlotte’s backing vocal “So pretty/So beautiful” returning to Billy’s “Wake up it’s a goddamn twisted game” over the chorus.  Closing track ‘Is that Enough?’ sees the album close with an assured, confident rock track back with Charlotte on lead-vocals here, with softer verses before a more brutal chorus “You beat my brains in/It’s all I need/We broke the borders/And watched the whole world bleed” before the track and album closes with a solid guitar solo to finish off.

As you will likely have no doubt gathered from this review, this self-titled fourth album from The Subways is packed with some serious full-on, power-rock a style which this three-piece have really honed to an incredibly tight sound over the years, with many tracks on this album leaving you breathless and clocking in under 3 minutes each.  However don’t just be fooled by this image, this album certainly has plenty of depth to it.  With some great and very personal lyrics to be found here from both Billy and Charlotte, it goes without saying that the duel sharing of vocal duties is a real trademark of the band and one that has stood them well over the test of time to create a real identity for the band now over four fine records.  I think this latest offering ‘The Subways’ really sees the band on fine form and I have a lot of admiration for how much work all three put into getting this album out there, particularly as Billy recorded and mixed the album himself, and I am happily going to give this one 8 Good Times out of 10, as this is without question an enthusiastic, fun, rock record but also laced with some sublime, tender moments, in particular ‘Because of You (Negative Love)’, which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful, endearing tracks this fun and loveable three-piece have recorded.

Dirty Muddy Paws

Track 1 – ‘My Heart Is Burning to a Brand New Beat’

Track 3 – ‘Taking all the Blame’

Band website:


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