The Subways – ‘Uncertain Joys’ album review

‘Uncertain Joys’, the fifth album from The Subways – and first on Alcopop! Records – finds Billy Lunn and co examining everything from social issues to sexuality and the love of music to the horrors of the patriarchy…

Huge riffs signal the start of ‘You Kill My Cool’, a stomping glam-rock-tinged smash with sensual lyrics and a grungey undertone whle ‘Love Waiting On You’ is a 3-minute song that finds the trio exploring a poppier sound that falls somewhere between The 1975 and Phoenix – with wistful, pining lyrics to match: ‘I’m addicted to dreaming’; ‘I love waiting on you’. The title track follows and it’s here where Billy really takes a long look at himself and his past actions as he ponders giving up in a material world and recalls being ‘haunted by your taunting calls’.

‘Black Wax’ is another stomping, heavier piece – although there are some Suede-esque sensibiliies shining through – before a wave of synths and acoustic guitar signal a change in tone on ‘Lavender Amelie’. This song finds Billy firing a number of questions at the subject – and wondering if they live up to his self-formed expectations: ‘How long has it been since the day I met you, since the day I set you up in my mind?’ ‘Fight’, rather appropriately, has a more edgy, punk sound while ‘Influencer Killed the Rock Star’ is a spoken-word rant about how social media dictates so much – especially when it comes to art.

‘Swanky Al’ is a Yard Act-esque piece of storytelling about a priviledged rock star who lives up to to every cliche: ‘You’re the star. Yes, you are’. ‘The Devil and Me’ is packed with observations about how people can make things right, even if they have troubled backgrounds, while ‘Futures’ finishes the record with a 7 1/2-minute flourish. The Subways may be pondering the ‘Uncertain Joys’ in today’s muddled world, but there’s so much to enjoy in these 12 songs.

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