The Subways

Tunnel Revision. The Foundry, Sheffield (May 24)

What doesn’t kill you, so the saying goes, only makes you stronger. Considering singer Billy Lunn’s much-publicised throat problem (he was in danger of permanently losing the power of speech, let alone song), and his split with bassist (not to mention ex-fiancée) Charlotte Cooper, it’s a wonder enough that The Subways are even here at all tonight. That they prove themselves a band rejuvenated beyond belief is, if not a miracle, then at least an unexpected – and pleasant – surprise.

Songs from soon-to-be-released second album ‘All Or Nothing’ rock just as hard as the ones from debut ‘Young For Eternity’, but it’s the strength of Lunn’s voice that’s most impressive. Instead of diminishing in power following the make-or-break surgery he underwent, it’s actually become more potent courtesy of some extra gravel and a dash more rasp, like a cross between Feeder frontman Grant Nicholas and Dave Grohl. And, ironically, given it was ‘Nevermind’ producer Butch Vig who twiddled knobs, the stuff off the new record is a step away from he Nirvana-doing-Green Day sound of old and several steps towards Grohl’s Foo Fighters. ‘Shake! Shake!’, for instance, would fit with anything on ‘The Colour And The Shape’, while ‘I Won’t Let You Down’ is the equal of any recent Foos single. Set highlight ‘Girls And Boys’, meanwhile, explodes courtesy of a Muse-esque über-riff.

“’Cos when I’m with you/It seems so easy” sings Lunn on oldie ‘With You’, exchanging a knowing grin with Cooper. They’ve been through plenty already, but The Subways still have an awful lot of stops left.

Rob Webb

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