Remember when the Subways were the vibrant new kids on the block? Well that was back in 2005 when they made their dent on the music industry, seemingly coming from nowhere, landing a spot at Glasto and rockin’ out the masses in the process. What’s great about the band is they’ve never followed fashion in music – they’ve always made their own style and to hell with what everybody wants to listen to. It’s with this sense of going against the grain that they release their self-titled fourth record, but does it muster the swagger of previous efforts?
The record kicks off with the long-titled My Heart Is Pumping To A Brand New Beat, showing off the bands more polished sound. Not as angsty as earlier material, it brings with it a security in sound and rolls itself into the usual huge chorus that the band are renowned for. Taking All The Blame points to American punk tinged with a rough English edge; Charlotte even takes over on lead vocals at one point, showing off how her sound has really progressed over the years and merits here taking the reigns more often.
Lead singer and guitarist Billy Lunn is definitely more contented these days, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know when to rip it up still when necessary. Track Goodtimes is testament to this, delving into classic oldskool Subways territory with its simple and fast chords backed by big drum breakdowns and wailed lyrics of adversity: ‘we’ve got a reputation we’ll shake off someday’ – you shouldn’t want to shake off the reputation when it creates songs this good. Pet Boy continues the good work with its freight train rhythm and melody, and Twisted Game gives you that extra change that the album was gagging for.
It’s all well and good to stick to your guns, but just now and then, the album suffers from an overuse of the same sound, leading to a little repetition and exhaustion; like anything, too much of a good thing can lead to unrest. Just like Jude also manages to feel a little strained and indifferent.
At the end of the day The Subways will always to what they love best, and that’s rocking out on a big stage. This is where they belong, and these songs should be heard live. The album works perfectly well in your bedroom or on headphones however, but a little more variety could have made a huge difference.