Anxious Love (2018), is the second album from the very small, Vancouver-based, indie rock/pop band; Adrian Teacher and the Subs. They toured with an opened for Japandroids, and as a result, I caught them at their show in Kansas City. They haven’t been around for more than a few years, and sadly, have not been able to gain a core following yet, but I was pretty impressed with their performance and decided to look at their new summer album.
Very similar to their first album, Anxious Love, is filled with fast and simple indie pop/rock, along with a lot of influences from other genres like folk, and even jazz. At a mere 18 minute run time, the 9 tracks go by very quick, but it doesn’t feel disappointing or too short. It very much reminds me of an early punk album (with how it’s structured), combining several fast, short, individual tracks into a single album. Each song has its own very abrupt beginning and end, and they revel in their simplicity.
The album opens with the pretty poppy, yet driving track, “Hello Everyone.” The SUPER bright guitar chords and simple drum beat drive the majority of the song, with the exception of a couple sections where they drop out for the lead singer to chime in more. While its structure is very laid out, and not too complex, it is a very enjoyable and dancable beat. What I enjoy a lot about Adrian Teacher and the Subs is they seem to understand what they are, and don’t try to over-complicate most things.
The next two songs, “Anxious Love, and “Modern Art,” follow suit in what the opening cut lays out. They too are pretty bright and driving, with similar sections. While they are very similar in vibe, however, unlike certain albums like Snowdonia (2017), they don’t meld together into a very similar sound. I think each one is clearly its own individual thing, so it gets much less annoying than those other albums.
The fourth track, “Slogging Away,” is aptly named. The tempo and mood of the song is incredibly slower and drearier than the first three tracks. It feels much lower and more emotional, and is also more acoustic. It’s slightly more stripped down, and tells the story about kind of slogging away the summer, bingeing shows and swimming in pools. Combined with the next track, “He Found Beauty and Goodness Everywhere and in Everyone,” the whole identity of the album changes for a few seconds. The fifth song acts like an interlude, with very high pitched synths and background noise filling a solid minute of time. It doesn’t seem out of place necessarily, but I don’t quite understand why it’s there. The rest of the album seems pretty separated and interludes are mostly for connecting pieces, and in this case that doesn’t seem necessary.
The next two tracks, “Pop Medicine,” and “Cruis’n USA,” both go back to the original recipe of fast indie rock. The former reminds me almost of a punk song for some reason. The vocals just seem to drag more, and it seems less bright than the rest of the album, making it stick out as more of a punk-ish tune than the rest. “Cruis’n USA,” however, goes back to the original sound of the first few songs, and ends much like a jam session with a slow repetition of chords.
The last two tracks on the album vary a little bit from the bright pop/rock as well, with the next one, “So Choked,” taking more of an influence from jazz/psychedelia. The guitar chords are bright once again, and very reminiscent of the opener, “Hello Everyone,” only this track features a decent amount of saxophone and feels a lot less upbeat than the others. Finally, the closer, “Can’t Fight Love,” starts off as a super stripped back, depressing ballad, featuring nice acoustic guitars and piano. That being said, about half way through, it takes a large shift in mood and becomes a much louder, upbeat track before finally fading back into its sad, slow vibe to finish off the album with a more somber mood.
Overall, I do enjoy the album a lot. It’s very fitting for summertime, featuring its many bright pop hits. Its simplicity is nice, and even though it doesn’t do any one thing especially well, it’s a very solid and enjoyable album. I think I may be a bigger fan of their debut project, Terminal City (2016). It experimented a bit more with their sound, and lyrically it was very nonsensical at times, making it kind of funny to listen to. This one is more one dimensional with its brighter poppy tunes, but also its lyricism is kind of dreary if you really pay attention to it. That’s nothing I’m holding against them, but I think their first album is a bit better for me personally. I’m thinking it’s a 6.5/10. Very solid fundamentals, but it doesn’t do anything too special for me to say it’s that far above some of the other albums I’ve rated thus far. Either way, they definitely deserve more than 260 monthly listeners on Spotify, so I recommend you check them out!
Favorite Tracks(s): “Modern Art”
Least Favorite Track(s): “He Found Beauty and Goodness Everywhere and in Everyone”