Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Subways - Young for Eternity CD Review

For every music reviewer, listener, or connoisseur that clamors for bands to switch up their sound in order to create something new and unheard, there is someone on the other side of the fence screaming out that bands need stay true to their roots, sometimes even to the point of hearkening all the way back to the days of rock and roll’s glory. It’s a vicious war that neither side will win but, depending upon the majority’s tastes at any given moment, can become quite lopsided.

This lopsidedness leads to the over saturation of a particular genre. For instance, metalcore, eight years ago, was a moderately original genre which the music lovers of change fell head over heels for. In a short amount of time thereafter, there were way too many metalcore bands, at which point the music lovers of change branched out and latched onto a new genre. It was also at this moment in time that the haters of change became associated with the aforementioned genre and ridiculed bands that tried to change their sound. The vicious circle perpetuated itself in yet another iteration of a never ending cycle.

You could easily apply the previous paragraph’s template to just about any modern genre, as well as take the previous example as a microcosmic examination of rock and roll in its entire musical lifecycle to date. It is the extension of this example to a larger time sampling that has led to the abundance of garage rock and simple minded brit-rock bands that have hit the airwaves over the last few years. Franz Ferdinand, The Strokes, The White Stripes, and many more similar bands have assaulted the airwaves only for listeners to later notice that, in the end, all of these bands are pretty damn simplistic.

Enter The Subways. Wading into a genre with a well established fanbase, they have taken what has been laid out by their contemporaries and added a slight twist that newer members of the garage rock genre might find interesting, but that’s only because they’re too newly exposed to the genre to realize that Oasis, Ash, and even Iggy Pop have done it equally as well, if not better, in the past. True, The Subways are not a direct descendant of any of these artists, but they share enough common elements that the connection is obvious.

No doubt the majority of the people who buy this cd will think of it as a close relative to The Rakes or a more rock oriented Franz Ferdinand, which isn’t totally off base, but for being in such a derivative genre The Subways deserve a little better than being lumped in with the multitude of crappy knockoff bands aping the garage rock sound. It’s also too bad that most listeners will be missing the connection that The Subways have with the elder members of their genre, but in this world of flashy music videos, jump-cut cinematography, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders you can’t expect much more than that.

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