Young for Eternity – The Subways

Young for Eternity

The Subways

2005

City Pavement / Infectious Records

The Subways, to those of you who may not know them, are an indie-punk band in the vein of The Vines or even Ted Leo.  While the band may not have the commercial success of The Vines or Leo, they do possess a decent-sized cult following, especially in England.  Already though, they’re music has been featured in commercials and they’ve performed at Lollapalooza, the Late Show with David Letterman, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien (all in support of this album, their first).  Not bad for an upcoming band that started recording with a cheap home system in the early 200’s. 

The band consists of Billy Lunn (guitars, vocals, and lyrics), Josh Morgan (drums), and Charlotte Cooper (bass and vocals).  It’s a trio that, on this first album, show that they’ve been playing together for such a time, because the music melds together so well.  The audience is treated to a catchy melodies, talented harmonies, and steady rhythms that push their debut album so that it becomes energized.  While the songs don’t particularly open any new styles of music, the indie-punk genre has another dozen songs to add to it, and these are worthy of being there.

Young for Eternity opens with “I Want to Hear What You Have Got to Say”.  An acoustic guitar strums, and soon Lunn’s vocals come in with a little reverb.  His voice has nasal sound to it, and you can tell he doesn’t have a great tonal quality to the vocals.  However, that doesn’t matter at all.  He pushes himself, straining for high notes, and so much feeling is in vocals that it doesn’t matter.  It’s raw and punk.  The melody however is really catchy.  After the first verse the band opens up with pounding drums and distorted power chords, boosting the song.  As the song keeps going, more energy is put in.  This keeps even with Cooper’s vocals, which provide a sexy, British female voice (alright, I’ll admit it here before we go further: I have a huge crush on Charlotte Cooper), which, again, keeps the raw style intact.  Lunn then takes over singing again, pushing his voice even further.  It’s a great opening track.

“Holiday” is the second song.  The introduction is a quick blast of distorted power chords, followed by Lunn’s vocals again.  This song however, has backup vocals showing musical depth to the band.  It’s a quick, less-than-two-minute song, which is all power.  The drums provide such an energetic performance, you can almost feel Morgan’s sweat flying off of him.

Next is “Rock & Roll Queen”, one of my favorites off the album.  It starts with a restrained guitar, which feels so strange after hearing the band rip during the last song.  Even the intro’s vocals (sung by Lunn again) are restrained.  However, the buildup comes quickly, and the memorable chorus comes in, a simple “Be my, Be my, Be my little rock and roll queen”.  The lyrics feel almost clichéd, “You are the sun, you are the only one, you act so cool, you are so rock and roll”.  However, they come off as genuinely sincere, and you can feel that in the song.  This is especially true when the restrainment comes back in, and Lunn screeches the last line into the buildup.  It’s a really cool, if simple song.

“Mary” is a slower song, again opening with an acoustic guitars, followed by short bursts of electric chords accentuating the off-beat.  The lyrics offer more than the last song, as the song is about the narrator being lazy in his friend Mary’s house.  The hook is decent, and the audience is shown Ludd’s rawness again.  A nice touch is the toy piano in the background of the second verse, showing a real thought to the production.

The title track is, in my opinion, the weakest track on the record.  The lyrics are juvenile, and are based around vampires (“Thank God for Dracula, he sucked the shit outta me” is one of the worst lines I’ve heard yet).  The music is decent, and there’s even a cool break-down three-quarters of the way through, but the vocals just get in the way after that point.

“Lines of Light” is a ballad-type track, very Vines sounding (think “Autumn Shade”).  Lunn has a very soft vocal style on this song, showing off another of his capabilities.  Luckily, The Subways aren’t just a straight forward punk band, they can easily turn acoustic with very melodic lines.  Cooper provides a great harmony to the main melody.  The arrangement is great as well, as more instruments keep being added through the song.  The drums contribute a steady beat, and the band lets the music (and Cooper’s background vocals) wash the listener for the last half.  It’s a beautiful song.

“Oh Yeah” breaks the mood, and brings it back into the raw punk that “Holiday” started.  Morgan’s drums are brilliant.  Enough said there.  While the verses (sung by both Lunn and Cooper) are kind of boring, the bridge is different.  Instead of letting loose too early, the band pulls back restraining itself.  The chorus then lets rip with the repetitive “Oh yeah, oh yeah” interspersed among real lyrics. 

“City Pavement” could be named after their label of the same name.  After a short verse, which has a cool bass line beneath it, the bridge starts.  Here, Cooper sounds distant as she repeats the phrase, “Sitting on a city pavement”.  This comes back later as the chorus, where Lunn sings over it. The song itself is mundane compared to the others, but has a cool bass solo.  This alone brings the song up a few notches.

“No Goodbyes” is another in the theme of acoustic songs.  The best part is the tight harmonies which support the beautiful harmony.  This is especially true during the chorus, as the layers add to the production value perfectly.  The drums are refined, not overpowering.  Everything, even the instrumental break, works well to create a lush performance.

The next song, “With You” follows this pattern, only with distortion.  The music to the bridge with its stop/start guitars add a distinct layer to the song, only to be closed up nicely into the chorus.  The chorus has great feeling put into it, with Lunn singing “My best days are with you.”  There’s even a middle section composed of fingerpicking an acoustic guitar.  Here the tight harmonies work perfectly again.  The Subways may not have many tricks on this album, but those that they do have are executed with a high degree of talent.

“She Sun” is another delicate acoustic ballad.  Again, Lunn’s voice becomes soft, and Cooper adds beautiful harmonies.  The song is different however, for featuring a piano.  Overall, it feels like a meditation before the finale.

“Somewhere” kicks off with drums and a dark riff of power chords.  This, surprisingly leads to the band to drop into an acoustic strum.  The drums behind this part are brilliant, and provide a stable backing.  This is the best arranged song on the album, the soft parts contrasting with the interspersed heaviness.  Cooper even gets an awesome bass line, which happens right before the song comes to an almost stand-still, with only muted power chords being heard.  With a huge buildup, the band kicks into “Na na na”s which, rather than sounding immature, create a satisfying sense.  It’s a very well-written song, pulling in every good trait and lesson that The Subways have learned over the course of the album.

On their first album, The Subways may be inexperienced, but they’re not insincere.  Every mistake that they make is made with care (and yes, that’s what I mean.  That sentence does make sense), and the trio provide for some cool songs.  Some are really simple, but most show an intensity and enthusiasm that is not possessed by many new bands.  Young for Eternity is a really enjoyable debut album by an upcoming band.  I haven’t heard their second album yet, but it has sold more than this one.  Hopefully, the band has developed their already decent sound.  No matter, this album is extremely solid.

Buy this Album

Official Site

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: