Subkicks - Threes. Fives and Sevens
This is the debut album from Subkicks, a bunch of lads from the West Midlands who’ve found themselves with a top 5 Japanese radio hit on their hands and, although we are told that everyone is ‘big in Japan’, this is no mean feat. In some respects, however, the album probably suffers a little from this fledgling success, as it appears that the band have tried to create a whistle stop tour of the best of Britpop within the space of 40 minutes. Anthemic, stadium packing tunes such as Paper Thin sit somewhat uncomfortably with the indie dance groove of Sirens, although Goodbye Caroline is the kind of classic british guitar pop that would grace any album.
This magpie approach to songwriting worked for Oasis’ debut and there’s a fair bit of Oasis in the spirit of this record, although guitarist Andy Brookes eschews the traditional pentatonic rock licks for something a little more experimental, opting for the sort of chiming, delay saturated lines that were once a U2 trademark. The vocals are, occasionally, reminiscent of Bobby Gillespie but, thanks to vocalist Matt Bellamy (no, not that one) Subkicks most often appear to be the successors to Aztec Camera as champions of intelligent yet universal pop music.
This is a competent debut but one which would benefit from a more cohesive style, which I’m sure the band will develop given time, and the introduction of a couple of genuinely killer tunes which demand attention. As things stand it is a perfectly pleasant album but not one which leaves any desire to hit the repeat button. The Subkicks proclaim that a couple of the songs were written and recorded in just one take and, for me, that is where the album ultimately fails as the songs just aren’t in the same league as those of those bands in whose footsteps they follow. The last song on the album is called Vanilla and that just about sums up this debut but then, whoever said it was easy when you’re big in Japan?