The Subways | Young For Eternity (Sire)

I would also propose that it replace the Nick Lowe chestnut of “I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock ’n ’ Roll” at all wedding receptions for a period of no less than 15 years.

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The album begins simply: guitar, voice, and a declaration: “Another day is here and I am still alive/I say these words aloud they speak from the inside/and every time I see you you just walk away/and still the world is turning.” Billy Lunn’s voice is endowed with all the classic rock ’n’ roll anthem-ready power any singer today needs or has. The band’s material on this debut release lives up to it, and he kicks it into high gear. Young for Eternity is angst-filled and, like its title suggests, overflowing with a live-for-today maxim. The band offers songs that suggest place, time, and urgency with a dollop of hippy élan thrown in just for kicks (“Mary”). It reflects upon a time of insurmountable angst surrounded by endless possibilities and energy to spare.

There is, of course, the single “Rock & Roll Queen,” which debuted on American shores in an episode of The O.C. last November. The single is an unstoppable paean to the ideal rock ’n’ roll girl and, in my humble opinion, should be on every mix disc that comes out in 2006. (I would also propose that it replace the Nick Lowe chestnut of “I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock ’n ’ Roll” at all wedding receptions for a period of no less than 15 years.) The rest of the disc is filled with songs that equal the single and, in some cases, surpass it. “Oh Yeah” and “No Goodbyes,” along with opener “I Want to Hear What You Have Got to Say,” are exactly what a great rock song is supposed to be: fast, shorthand lyrics with chants that stick like Velcro.

The album’s best moments come when Lunn and bassist Charlotte Cooper trade vocals. I can best describe Cooper’s vocals as a nasally concoction akin to Tracey Ullman (the ’80s pop singer whose variety show spawned The Simpsons) or perhaps Be Your Own Pet’s Jemina Pearl on a better day. The combination is both sugary and rough. When Cooper and Lunn sing, “My best days are with you, they are so easy,” it becomes one fucking attractive chant. And not to be overlooked, the backbone of the band is certainly drummer Josh Morgan, who is essential to their sound and velocity.

The album runs out of steam in some places. The title track is literally about being turned into a vampire. The analogy, while appreciated, probably died out with Buffy. “Lines of Light” and “She Sun” are both sort of listless efforts to show a softer side (yes, I know you want your torch songs). Not needed. The band’s passion more than speaks for itself and what they show offers them up as spokesmen for their generation and echoes of our previous best. I am not saying that the Subways are a Nirvana, Beatles, or the Beats, but I do feel that they summarize a time, and offer that time and its inhabitants a fantastic soundtrack. This album makes tracks that are sure to be followed.

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