The Subways: All or Nothing

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The Subways 

Written By:

Ross Riley

04th July 2008
At 01:40 GMT

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There are times when even the most professional of music reviewers, endowed as they inevitably are with sandals and a propensity to enjoy acoustic folk, need to take a break and just, to use their lingo, rock out.

The Subways have always fitted the bill as the hit of speed between the barbiturates of normality. They're not deep, they're unashamedly derivative of the 90's grunge scene growing up covering Nirvana songs in their spare time.

Movements have a habit of coming full circle though and for this their second studio release they enlist none other than Nirvana producer Butch Vig, which allows them to indulge their noisiest moments without escaping the polished sheen that Vig invariably glazes over raw guitars.

Since the band's last outing on Young For Eternity, there's a little less of the wide-eyed naivety and a little more muscle and depth added to the songs. The opening triptych of Girls and Boys, Kalifornia and Alright are fast paced, bright and riff-laden which have an easy sense of fun without being too frivolous.

Lyrically we're not ascending new heights: "If you see Kalifornia.... You will know it's been waiting for ya" is the simple but effective reprise for track two.

The second half of the album is a less spectacular affair as the unadulterated energy gives way to introspection and this is when the album starts to feel weaker.

In short there's only so far that The Subways can take their sound without searching for a new direction.

Whilst they know how to rock out they've not yet perfected the art of adding depth to their high octane guitar adventures, which results in a valiant attempt at a second album but nothing that will trouble the end of year charts.

Rating:  5 / 10

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