Album Reviews: May 2004 (additional page)


Ash - Meltdown (Infectious)

I think my head is gonna explode” muses Tim Wheeler on the introductory eponymous track here, and so it would seem, given the ultra heavy transposition from Ash’s last summer laden long player 'Free All Angels'.
Next comes the equally ballsy and infectious grower that is 'Orpheus' that should be blasting out from all car stereos throughout the summer. Make no mistake – this is an album that demands to be played LOUD!

'Evil Eye' is perhaps a hint that there is still a part of the new Ash that evolved from the belly of Meltdown's predecessor, mixing as it does fantastic deep rooted melodies with outright power rock. 'Clones' is the band at their pumped up best, and, as Tim himself recently said “Rick has turned into a drumming monster” and this is mightily evident on this ultra heavy track that is still ultimately pop perfection, and one of the standout tracks.

Most likely single to be released next is 'Starcrossed', on which Wheeler comes over all Bobby Gillespie circa 'Screamadelica' to tremendous effect. This really is music to get a suntan to! 'Out of the Blue' begins in a similar fashion to a track from their former long player ('Nicole') but continues in the same vain as the rest of this record – one of utmost urgency and admirable energy.

The amount of strings added to the band’s already extremely impressive bow increases still further with the rather Japan like verses of 'Renegade Cavalcade' but still remains unmistakeably Ash, to their credit. Honestly, it frightens me that a band can actually BE this good and still reach the charts, but I for one am eternally grateful that they do! 'Detonator' begins just as you would hope – like a bomb waiting to explode, and the longer it ticks on, the more excited you become by the thought of the inevitable eruption. I think that’s probably down to Rick’s crafty utilisation of his cowbell, which adds a kind of authenticity to this one.

'On a Wave' is a tad like an early REM track, and the vocals aren’t a million miles away from Stipe either. Still utterly superb, and this is followed by the ridiculously contagious 'Won’t Be Saved' – arguably the album’s most feelgood tune and quite possibly another single for the future. Then again, Ash could release ANY of these eleven rockets and guarantee themselves a place in the Top 20.

This phenomenal work of art (for it would be unfair of me to keep calling it just an “album”) finishes with what is, at present anyway, this writer’s favourite track – the rather dirty sounding 'Vampire Love', complete with driving rhythm, screaming guitars and a solo that just stops short of being labelled “self indulgent”!

In summary, I was expecting the ever reliable four piece to release another brilliant album. What I DIDN’T expect, and which usurped me in rather fine style, was the fact that they’ve released a record at least four times as good as that!
Absolutely magnificent. 10/10

Tone E

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