Back on fire again
We’re allowed to change our minds, you know. And so it comes as no great surprise that, following Ash’s announcement in 2007 that their album Twilights
of the Innocence would be their final one as a band, along comes a new studio record. In fairness, they waited eight years to admit that their “singles only” policy might not have been such a good idea, but creative types aren’t necessarily the best at coming up with business models.
And so, following what really was a good idea (their A-Z series of 26 singles released throughout 2009), the band took time off to rethink and refresh.
Cue collaborative/solo work from Tim Wheeler (notably 2011’s This is Christmas, with Emmy the Great, the best collection of original Christmas songs in many a year, and last year’s seriously underrated debut solo album, Lost Domain. While still under the cosh from a business point of view ( Kablammo! was made via the fan-financed platform PledgeMusic), there is no sense at all that Ash are taking it handy in the songwriting department.
They were always (rightly) viewed as one of the best bands of the past 20 years to give toothsome pop melodies some of punk’s serrated edge, Kablammo! is the kind of album that will raise the bar even higher for other acts with similar ambitions.
Cocoon sets the mood and the pace: a flurry of drum fills, criss-crossing guitars, Wheeler’s sweet voice, and a melody that flits between pop and hardcore. And so it continues for the next 36 minutes or so.
Let’s Ride is guitar-shred heavy and pop-song light; Free, and Moondust, are slow-build pop songs underpinned by liquid guitar work, and the instrumental Evel Knievel kicks off with a direct lift from Thin Lizzy’s Whiskey in the Jar.
No more albums? With Ash, it seems no means yes. Cheers to this one – and the next. ash-official.com