Ash
Intergalactic Sonic 7s


4.5
superb

Review

by Borrowed Nostalgia For The Unremembered 80s USER (8 Reviews)
September 3rd, 2011 | 7 replies | 3,623 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An essential overview of one of the finest singles bands of the last 20 years.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Too melodic to be punks, too gritty to be pop, too fresh-faced for grunge, and criminally under-appreciated whatever genre they may be, Ash have put out some awesome singles over the course of their career, thankfully collected for your listening pleasure in this very compilation, which brings together 19 3-minute gems in one manga-artwork'd CD. Hooray!

It's not a criticism to say that with most Ash singles, repeating the chorus for 3 minutes is more enjoyable than listening to the whole song. They're just THAT good, dammit - classics 'Girl From Mars' and 'Goldfinger' boast monumentally catchy refrains that ably tread the precarious line between 'anthemic, in a good way' and 'U2'. Bandleader and songwriter Tim Wheeler, as well as contributing endearingly relatable (read: weak but still awesome) vocals, provides elegant, winding lead guitar licks that lift tracks like 'Sometimes', with its lilting melody and cathartic chorus to new heights of pop perfection, and help elevate the music above ye olde standard power-pop chugging.

However, the backing really isn't all that important here - all it needs to do is complement Wheeler's myriad melodies without overshadowing them, which is exactly what it does. Having said that, the band do stretch out occasionally, such as on token-ballad 'Candy', whereby insistent piano plinkery is set against a classic AOR drumbeat and soaring strings. This is, thank god, better than it sounds on paper, as is most of the Ash oevure- It has that indefinable quality that makes good singles great. Put simply, if I were a Pitchfork writer I would be using the words je ne sais quoi right about now.

Lyrically, the album is really nothing to yell about, though 'oh yeah, she was taking me over/oh yeah, it was the start of the summer' from 'Oh Yeah' has got to rank as one of pop's most exuberant opening couplets. Aside from this, there are some clever lines here and there, and the aforementioned 'Sometimes', with it's bittersweet depiction of faded love - 'sometimes it happens, feelings die/whole years are lost in the blink of an eye' does stand out, as does the Ivor Novello award-winning 'Shining Light', with it's somewhat novel love-related metaphors. Once again though, the lyrics take a backseat to the songwriting, which is probably a good thing, as Wheeler is no Dylan.

To summarise: fantastic melodies, great choruses, and enough youthful exuberance to get Will Oldham pogo-ing. It isn't original, it isn't groundbreaking or even particularly deep: it's just fantastic pop music, musical escapism at its very best.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
jefflebowski
September 3rd 2011



7733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is primarily a review of the main disc by the way. My thoughts on disc 2 are basically the same, but less so.

Digging: Big Black - Atomizer

jefflebowski
September 3rd 2011



7733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well this is a popular review

*sobs in corner*

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
September 3rd 2011



7325 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Have a comment

Ash don't get anywhere near enough attention here, they're not exactly a sputnik band but they're great nonetheless.

Good review, this compilation needed one.

jefflebowski
September 3rd 2011



7733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My thoughts exactly - it kinda sucks there isn't much community interest in bands like Ash, but I've loved this comp since I got it for my 9th birthday, so I had fun reviewing it anyway

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
September 3rd 2011



7325 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

1977 and Meltdown were some of my favourite albums a few years ago, and although I've outgrown them a bit I still really enjoy them every time I listen.

jefflebowski
September 3rd 2011



7733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

exactly. It's just great, catchy pop music, and nothing more/less

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
October 31st 2011



6432 Comments


I know Orpheus from the Burnout 3 soundtrack, and ever since I've loved Meltdown. The rest of their albums are pretty decent too, but it's very true that the singles are by far the best.
Also, seeing them live with Russell Lissack, from Bloc Party was a very pleasant surprise.

Digging: Vessel - Punish, Honey



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