Ash - Islands

You can tell when a band has properly made it; when you can hear one of their tracks and know, indisputably, that it's them. Ash are one of those bands. They've come a long way since 1977 in 1996, but listening to their seventh album it feels as though nothing has really changed. Islands is ostensibly a break-up record, frontman Tim Wheeler was inspired by a split from his girlfriend and a trip round Japanese islands following their 2016 tour supporting Kablammo.

Don't be afraid though, this isn't the album where the Irish trio grow up, the twelve tracks here might just be the most fun you've had listening to someone get over their ex. Obvious examples of their frivolity are the teenage attitude of 'Buzzkill', all riffs and testy lyrics ("Then you fucking showed up, buzzkill / Killing my fucking buzz, buzzkill") and pop-led fun gone wild thrill of 'Confessions In The Pool'.

Though musically it's riffy and frothy, filled to the gills with Ash-type melodies, 'True Story' digs into the reasons for relationships gone wrong, and the stand-out track 'Did Your Love Burn Out?' questions the end of the relationship. It's a tricksy album in that way, difficult to get a hold of, one minute thrilling, the next slipping a more serious lyric twist at you. Surprisingly deep, you can have your Ash whichever way you want.

Overall

Both deep and serious, light and frothy, full of riffs and melodies, with lyrics to getting singing and thinking.

8

out of 10

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