The Subways may have won last year's Glastonbury Festival unsigned performers competition and be this year's darlings of the British music press. But here in the States, they're an album-less band with only a recent appearance on ''The O.C." and its ancillary soundtrack compilations to prime the pump for a buzz-building American tour before the release of ''Young For Eternity" in February. If Saturday's show at Great Scott is anything to go by, consider the buzz built.
It doesn't hurt that the three band members are very young (guitarist Billy Lunn, the oldest, just turned 21) or that Lunn and bassist Charlotte Cooper are very much in love. But rather than tidbits of irrelevant gossip, those two facts became vital elements in the Subways' brash, speedy garage rock. Full of the heedless energy of youth, the band remained in seemingly constant motion as it blazed through 10 songs in 40 minutes, with Lunn and Cooper throwing themselves across the stage to stare each other down briefly in a hyperaccelerated courtship dance.
The echoes of Kurt Cobain in Lunn's raspy howl were tempered by a hint of Liam Gallagher's drawl, and the band's material followed suit. ''City Pavement" and ''Young For Eternity" drew from much the same well as Nirvana's ''Aneurysm" and chunks of ''Bleach," but the songs were fueled by more ebullience as drummer Josh Morgan combined the bounce of Britpop with the authority of Dave Grohl. Lunn declared ''When I'm with you, it seems so easy" in ''With You," a loud, urgent and instantly memorable update of ''I Can't Explain," while ''Rock & Roll Queen" was a deceptively sincere love song set to a vaguely sinister descending chord progression that recalled pre-''Howl" Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
The explosive set saved The Subways being demolished by openers the Twenty Twos. The New York band's street-glam swagger and punky roar were fueled by the snarl in guitarist Jenny Christmas's voice, while the midtempo ballad ''Touch & Go" and the disorienting ''Moonlight," a drum freakout in 10/8 time, added welcome versatility to the mix.