Review: The Subways – ‘It’s a Party’

Subways

Their first single was premiered on the radio by none other than the late John Peel, a man revered as a God-like figure on English radio. ‘At 1am’ captured the attention of the public and much accolade ensued due to their renowned energetic prowess on the live scene. Debut album Young for Eternity soon followed in 2005 and spawned anthems which were snapped up by countless advertising campaigns, most notably Rock & Roll Queen which fronted the soundtrack of an English gangster film, RocknRolla. Second album, All Or Nothing, was a richer, bolder affair that tinkered with a sound which was mildly mature without abandoning the vivacious essence of the first record.

Album number 3 is on the horizon and this first taste of their new material suggests they’ve returned to the care-free juvenile spirit of their first record. The opening 40 seconds of It’s a Party feature spiky guitars that are markedly resonant of the Young Knives track, Terra Firma. The lyrics are simple and direct with an obvious statement of intent which is to have a bloody good time. “So do you wanna die young, or do you wanna have fun”, sings Billy Lunn, famous for screaming so much that it once led to him being diagnosed with the condition that every singer dreads – vocal nodules. On this track it is bassist Charlotte Copper whose voice is at the forefront of the sky punching chorus. A question mark does hang over the clinking glasses soundbite which emulates the mood of a party environment but it does little to hamper the overall quality of the track. They do make quite a racket for a three piece and with the demise of Supergrass we need another trio to fill their boots on the music scene.

There is a significant lack of mixed sex groups in indie music at the moment so it is refreshing to have the Subway’s back. Even Ash are missing the benefits of that contrast between male and female vocals in their sound since the departure of Charlotte Hatherley. The Subways are not exactly reinventing the wheel but this new track encapsulates the signature sound that their cult following know and love them for, yet with a slight Blood Red Shoes influence which works pretty well. If you were expecting a huge leap forward in both maturity and experimentation then you may be rather disappointed. This does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a party.

Matt Humphrey

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