Album Review: Villains by Subatlantic (2019) (self released)


Subatlantic are a four piece from Illinois who ooze distinct musical mastery and overt competence in every sub-strata of this, their second release. It is all so tangibly tight.

When a band has such musical adeptness, guile and finesse, it can often manifest itself in a general feel of over deliberation and a sense of over production. However, Subatlantic manage to manicure abrasive alternative rock and graceful pop (and everything in between) with just the slightest semblance that they might just lose control at any given moment (that they might choose) thus avoiding such musical pitfalls.

Essentially there are two musical styles in this album with both being bound together as a unifying whole by frequent glorious jangled riffs. Tracks such as Not a Sound,  Carol☆☆☆☆☆ (see below), Places, Everyone and the stand out title track, have a muted 10,000 Maniacs vibe with the added alluring insistence of framing any bit of uptempo noise with delicious jangled riffs, as if they are offering the most beautiful apology for becoming so animated.

The second musical style is far more restrained but equally as seducing as the tempo decreases and the jangle-pop flutters with almost indie-pop indifference. Tracks such as Milly Goes To War (see below), Unhappy and State of the Birds, sees vocalist Rebecca Rice drift through a whole gamut of the vocal stylistics including Natalie Merchant, Harriet Wheeler and Susannah Hoffs, whilst always managing to retain her own more dominant vocal muscle.

I missed their first 2015 EP release (Not Louder, but Closer)…I most certainly will not be missing the third!

Artist Links:  Facebook  Bandcamp


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