Charlotte Hatherley - Kim Wilde

One of the more embarressing turns of recent years is Ash's clueless hopping between music as if unsure what they ought to be doing next. Their debut, 1977, was just right...brash pop/punk with the confidence of youth and full of the sort of pop culture references that reflected back onto early-twentysomethings without necessarily making them feel nostalgic. But since then, Ash have turned to pop, hard rock and even ballads without being given the rewards afforded to them after their debut. Whilst this could have been blamed on the addition of guitarist Charlotte Hatherley, the release of this free, download-only single proves that not to be the case.

Doubtless awkward teenage boys go wild for Hatherley in the way that the dads once did for Kim Wilde but, whilst admitting that's the sort of cheesy link Simon Bates would be proud of, there's a cool, summer-pop feel to Hatherley's single that's shared with Kids In America, namechecked here, naturally. At times, the song sounds overly complicated, almost stumbling over the words in an effort to fit them all in before the next wave of fuzzpop bursts in but this is a wonderful pop song that fizzes and crackles like Space Dust and ought not to be off the radio from now 'til the Autumn...or at least your mix-tape for this summer.

Available either on the forthcoming album, Grey Will Fade from Double Dragon Music or as a free download from Charlotte Hatherley's website - that's right...free - this, along with Gisli's How About That, a couple of songs from Faultline and a few old favourites like The Hummingbirds will be the sound of this summer round Ash's home town.

Overall

8

out of 10

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