Young For Eternity

The Subways

Warner Brothers, 2006

http://www.thesubways.net

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/23/2006

The title Young For Eternity certainly strikes the appropriate note for this frenetic young British boy-girl-boy alt-rock power trio -- it's a debut full of angst, passion and short attention spans. The loud numbers are full of slamming, sweaty riffs and sneering vocals, while the ballads brim with a desperate sentimentality. Think Green Day (punk fury, pop smarts) times Jimmy Eat World (shimmering melodic earnestness) divided by the Kinks (British sensibilities, complex band relationships), plus a little Joan Jett-meets-Cobain in the male-female vocal dynamics between vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Billy Lunn and bassist/vocalist/fiancee Charlotte Cooper.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Capping off this all-in-the-family approach, Lunn's brother Josh Morgan is the drummer. We've seen how that sort of tight-knit band grouping worked out for Oasis and Fleetwood Mac, but really, what's the message there -- don't light matches at gas stations, or emotional intensity begets musical intensity?

Leaping to answer that query, the Subways ensure these songs don't waste a second of your time -- they jump in your face, stay two and a half or so, and get out. The only song over 3:30 on the whole album is the closing "Somewhere," whose positively expansive 4:46 offers both yin and yang, a slow-builder that explodes toward the end into a crescendo of power chords. Maybe the most impressive thing the Subways pull off here is repeatedly achieving that equilibrium between hard edges and soft curves, as in the one-two punch of the beautifully-arranged ballad "Line Of Light" and the insanely catchy thrasher "Oh Yeah."

One thing's for sure, Young For Eternity has got energy and urgency to spare and, in cuts like the darkly anthemic "Rock And Roll Queen," a layer of almost Oedipal tension in the music. What let me down a bit in the final analysis is that, for all their cathartic power, the songs here don't seem to matter as much as they could. Too many take a tap-the-vein-and-let-it-rip approach that's so raw that the songs never evolve past capturing a single idea or feeling. The title track is a perfect example -- powerful riff, interesting title, but the punchline doesn't outlast the first verse -- it's about vampires, y'see -- and after that it's 90 seconds of repeating chords and phrases.

What the Subways do accomplish here is to effectively tap into the essence of teenage angst, fury and tenderness. The results are viscerally entertaining, and if it all lacks depth in the end, well, they've got plenty of years ahead to busy themselves thinking deep thoughts.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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