January 13th, early Saturday morning. Before distracting myself with anything else, today I started my day with my morning coffee and a cigarette while listening to the debut album, "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors" by Subway Rat, playing in my headphones. The album, released on August 18, 2023, contains 12 radio-friendly songs with a musical concept focusing on indie rock.
Subway Rat - Stand Clear of the Closing Doors album promo image
After discovering the New York indie music artist Subway Rat with his second studio album, "Captain of the Football Team," about a month ago and publishing my in-depth review in Metalhead Community magazine, today I am writing about its predecessor, released just six months prior. For reasons I will explore further in this article, this album sounded much more mature to me compared to his second. Let me explain.
First and foremost, my initial experience listening to the entire album of 12 songs was entertaining despite my mood. It musically draws influences from high-tempo and easy-listening indie and alternative rock soundscapes, blending Subway Rat's unmistakable vocals with examples aimed at or acclaimed as "hit" songs in rock music. The album's climate reminded me of commercially successful works by Red Hot Chili Peppers and Daft Punk, to name a few.
Moreover, the album's approach is commercially aimed, so all 12 songs have an easy-listening and radio-friendly structure, following the path to commercial success without further questioning. Unsurprisingly, based on my previous experience with his second album, "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors," once again stars his larger-than-life personality and vocals. If asked for my honest opinion in one sentence, I'd probably highlight the undeniable potential of Subway Rat's vocals' recognizability. You hear him once, and he stays with you. It is unhearable.
Furthermore, all songs are highly entertaining, easily establishing a connection with the listener due to their masterfully crafted contagious energy among other elements that steered this album in this direction. Some patterns in the musical concept evoked memories of Daft Punk and their highly effective and addictive songs such as "Get Lucky" and "Lose Yourself to Dance," albeit in a much more basic and direct perspective. It was obvious to me that Subway Rat had this vision before stepping into the studio.
Production-wise, "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors" is a much more well-balanced record compared to his second, "Captain of the Football Team," as I mentioned earlier as "mature." Technically, strategically, and sonically, it is a superior record with greater potential. The songs create a meaningful concept altogether, leaving a mark in your memory that whenever you feel like listening to this specific mood, you know where to find it.
David Polanco / Subway Rat, artist photoPhoto credit: Unknown
On the other side of the coin, Subway Rat is an artist that divides opinion like no other. Although precisely following the examples of radio hit songs and undoubtedly succeeding at building commercially successful streams on Spotify, once again, his vocals play a decisive role in the outcome. During all this time since I was introduced to his music, one thing is clear: Subway Rat's music isn't for everyone, mainly due to his singing style, which also makes him unapologetically authentic. I recall having difficulties with his off-note singing while listening to his second album a while back. But this time, perhaps because I became accustomed to it, or I was in a better mood, or the songs were more entertaining, or the album sounded better-balanced sonically, I had a more enjoyable and entertaining listening experience.
Subway Rat - Stand Clear of the Closing Doors album artworkArt credit: Unknown
release August 18, 2023
In conclusion, Subway Rat's sophomore album "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors" is an album with a specific taste that will connect with certain people. Characterized by unmistakably unique vocals and easy-listening, radio-friendly indie rock music, it possesses captivating energy and undeniable entertainment value. Leaving all emotions aside, this album holds considerable commercial and timeless value in its foundation. Thank you for reading.
Subway Rat on the Web
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