Ash - Meltdown

From the first squeal of feedback on the albums title track to the album techno punk leanings of the closer "Vampire Love", Ash have proven that as well as writing some of the catchiest pop singles of the past decade they can also rock it up against the best of them. Ash deliver what's needed of them at the right time, every time. When the world was pop crazy they delivered "Free All Angels" an album which shimmered and shone and put them back in the public eye after the lacklustre reception to " ".Now with extremo and punk rock the order of the day Tim Wheeler has turned the amps up to 11 and delivered pummelling riffs alongside the usual radio friendly Ash formula.

The single "Orpheus" is a perfect example. Cymbals smash, guitars crunch and the lights flash before Tim Wheeler delivers "That summer I did nothing" over a song which could have come off Abba's greatest hits. However hard Wheeler tries to avoid the usual Ash set pieces he can't help revert back to what he knows which is no bad thing. Ash must have released the same song over and over again throughout their 10 year career, but there's always something fresh sounding about each release unlike Oasis who use the same trick and fail 9 times out of 10. "Starcrossed" is up their with "Oh Yeah" and "Sometimes" as one of those classic Ash ballads, a song which starts off with the intention of rocking out on cliff tops ala Bon Jovi and the Darkness only to lose its bottle and drop in minor piano chords instead. "Renegade Cavalcade" and "Won't Be Saved" adopts the quirky rock of Fountains Of Wayne and Weezer, yet still the latter manages to sound like a rewrite of "Shining Light"

"Meltdown" is essentially every single Ash trick thrown into the pot. 70s punk sits next to Girl Group harmonies and classic riffs from the school of Metallica are taken and sugar-coated. The only real difference between this album and any other Ash album is that the production is a little heavier, the riffs a little bit meatier and the lyrical subjects a little darker. Ash are testament to the fact that if you have a great formula you might as well stick with it. Scenes have come and gone, but Ash remain stronger than ever and with tunes like this we really should be grateful.

Alex McCann

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