Back pockets stuffed with unassailable influences like T. Rex and The Jam, The Subways' guitarist/vocalist Billy Lunn and bassist/vocalist Mary-Charlotte Cooper whip up plenty of bratty tension and punky exuberance. But their tunes don't add up to unforgettable. It's not their fault that it should matter so much right now: Arctic Monkeys, though overrated themselves, have raised the songwriting standards of a generation of British bands. Now we expect not only spunk and good influences, but also tunes that do more than tribute "rock 'n' roll queens" and posit "Oh yeah!" as a chorus. By all accounts a great live band, The Subways have failed to muster a great debut. There's no shame in that, but plenty of good-but-not-great English rock acts have come and gone in the shadows of great ones; there's a reason you may never have heard of Cast or Northern Uproar. Let's hope this neat little band doesn't join them.
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