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The Subways impress on their fifth album

The English trio deliver the goods on the rocking 'Uncertain Joys.'
The Subways -- Uncertain Joys album cover art

THE SUBWAYS
UNCERTAIN JOYS
Alcopop! Records/Bodan Kuma Recordings (CD, LP)
★★★★

By John Curley

Uncertain Joys is the fifth studio album by The Subways, and their first without longtime drummer Josh Morgan. Drummer Camille Phillips now rounds out the trio that also includes guitarist/vocalist Billy Lunn and bassist/vocalist Charlotte Cooper.

The keyboards in the album’s title track give the song an ‘80’s synth-pop vibe. Cooper’s bass provides the foundation, and there is some good vocal interplay between Lunn and Cooper in the song’s midsection. “Lavender Amelie” is acoustic based and has a lighter touch than most of the other material on the album. There is a brief clip of studio banter at the start of the song. Lunn’s vocal on the track is quite good. The rocker “Influencer Killed The Rock Star” features a tight performance by the band, solid drumming by Phillips and terrific vocals by Lunn and Cooper. “Fight,” the first song that the band recorded without Morgan on drums, is a very political song that was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s a heavy track on which Lunn delivers the lead vocal in rapid-fire style.

“You Kill My Cool” features a slightly distorted vocal by Lunn and is a rocker that should go over very well in live performances. “Love Waiting On You” is a good power-pop tune that has the feel of a tune that you might hear on AM radio in the 1970s. Cooper’s backing vocals on the track are quite good. “Incantation” is a powerful tune that has the band firing on all cylinders, and it has great vocals by Lunn and Cooper throughout. In the rocking “Black Wax,” Lunn namechecks several artists, including Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Madonna, Fiona Apple and Aretha Franklin, in the song’s midsection. Phillips’ drumming propels the heavy “Swanky Al.”

The album closer “Futures” is a bit of a wild card. It starts out heavy with rock-solid drumming, good guitar and bass and a strong vocal performance by Lunn. About three minutes in, it downshifts into a keyboard-driven section that provides a synth-pop mood. It then morphs back into a heavy rocker. Toward the song’s conclusion, it shifts once again to light keyboards with distorted spoken-word vocals.

Uncertain Joys is a 12-track album that would have been better served with 10 tracks. The weaker tracks hurt the album and seem like padding. While the album lacks a breakout single like their 2005 hit “Rock & Roll Queen,” it is a worthwhile release that the fans should enjoy. And it will provide some powerhouse songs to the band’s concert setlists.

The music video for “You Kill My Cool” can be seen below:

The music video for “Love Waiting On You” can be viewed below:

The music video for “Black Wax” can be seen below:

The music video for “Fight” can be seen below:

The Subways’ March 2022 performance at Bonn, Germany’s Crossroads Festival that aired on the German TV music show Rockpalast can be seen below: