Subb - The Motions (Cover Artwork)


The Motions (2006)


During my early days of high school I listened to punk and only punk music for the most part. Albums by bands like NOFX, Lagwagon and No Use for a Name never left my stereo, and among these bands was another great band called Subb. Subb are a five-piece ska-punk act hailing from Montreal, Quebec who shares common ground with bands such as Sublime and Bad Religion. Subb have been releasing albums and touring across Canada for the past decade, however have remained relatively quiet throughout the past few years. Fast forward to June 2006, and their latest offering, The Motions, was to be the band's highly anticipated offering for long-awaiting fans.

My first impression after listening to The Motions was that of disappointment. The album is a politically charged barrage of punk, reggae and ska tunes that contains 16 tracks dealing with a wide range of political issues such as free trade and animal rights as well as personal reflections regarding individuality and relationships.

I was a huge fan of Subb's last album, 2002's Daylight Saving, but I felt the songs featured on The Motions fail to recreate the infectious melodies and energy captured on the band's 2002 release. I have always enjoyed Subb's fast punk rock songs because they are catchy and aggressive while still remaining original, whereas the band's ska material has always seemed to fall short of being memorable or captivating. Unfortunately, the majority of the songs featured on The Motions tend to stray away from the stylings of fast punk and are mainly reggae and ska tracks.

The Motions starts off strong with the track "A Little More of Chomsky," which reminds me of some of the faster material off of Daylight Saving, but the band then quickly pulls a 180 with the title track / single "The Motions," which is a simple reggae song that revisits a sound more frequent of that in the band's back catalogue. As the album progresses, the band flip-flops back and forth between styles and never really seems to find their proper footing. There isn't a solid section of strong material on this album, because some of the standout songs are followed by weaker songs that push the listener in a completely different direction. If the band had opted to write more aggressive fast songs, The Motions would have been a much stronger album.

If you are a die-hard fan of ska music then perhaps you may enjoy Subb's newest album, however if you were never attracted to the ska genre or are simply sick of it, I wouldn't recommend Subb's latest CD. I truly hope the band can manage to regroup for a stronger release next time around.

Highlight Tracks: "The Feeling You've Lost It," "A Little More of Chomsky," "Make Trade Fair," "The Remedy and the Cure"