You know how you should never judge a book by its’ cover? Subset pretty much embody that entire phrase. As soon as I noticed this album was called Loverdose my emo alarm was going off at full tilt. During the album’s stripped-back introduction ‘In the Patient’s Waiting Room’ I was still pretty much ready for the whiny melodies to kick in as soon as the jangly guitar came to a halt.
What came next was something I was not prepared for. This is a punk rock album that incorporates so many different influences from across the heavy music spectrum that simply calling it a punk rock album is a bit of a disservice.
Subset make a racket that sounds like an ungodly marriage of Reuben, Scars on Broadway and The Cooper Temple Clause. Loverdose is an album of high octane rock that isn’t afraid to completely change its’ style as it sees fit.
Songs like Explode sound like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster having a drag rage, the title track is an almost twee little pop-punk number and then Walk Elephants turns up and channels Peter Steele and Type O Negative for some serious goth stomp.
The change in musical style is the most noticeable in the vocal department which changes from a hard rock grunt to sugary pop crooning and then the aforementioned Peter Steele impression. Subset manage to do all this and still manage to maximise on choruses which are nothing but monolithic throughout. There isn’t a song on this album that doesn’t contain a memorable chorus and it’s beautifully enjoyable for that reason.
The only problem with the diversity on Loverdose is that it does mean the album has a hard time finding a decent flow. The changes in style mean the album takes the form of something more akin to a singles collection. This is obviously not a deal breaker because hey, who doesn’t want a load of cracking singles, but it does make for a somewhat disjointed listening experience if you take it as an album.
Ignore the issue of flow and you have one of the most exciting and down-right inventive rock albums of the year. Subset are one of the most enjoyable and bizarre rock bands doing the rounds and missing this album would deprive you of one of the most creative rock albums in existence.
Subset’s Loverdose is available to purchase digitally direct from the band now.