Ash - A-Z:Volume 1
Ash were the classic case of a band who just didn’t know when to quit. One great album rammed with classic punk-pop classics like ‘Angel Interceptor’ and ‘Girl From Mars’ promised the earth, but following it up proved to be an impossible task which all but destroyed the protagonists. Now, well over a decade from those nascent fireworks Ash have finally rediscovered the magic formula ostensibly by giving up the hunt and calling it quits. Since that decision to stop releasing albums the band have found themselves unable to stop writing the classic 3 minute pop tunes that have eluded them for so long. The task they’ve set themselves is to release a new single every fortnight for a whole year; a concept that’s based loosely upon the letters of the alphabet and, at the halfway point, it’s looking good.
Technically, then, this isn’t an Ash album proper but something more akin to the Wedding Present’s Hit Parade discs. This is clearly of psychological import for Tim Wheeler, but what matters to us is that this is a solid gold pop classic from start to finish. They may not have been thinking in terms of albums but, thankfully, circumstances dictate that there’s plenty of light and shade along the way, from the OMD synth stylings of ‘True Love, 1980’ to the Robbie meets Buzzcocks spacedust fizz of ‘Arcadia’. The album pivots on the laid back dynamics of ‘Pripyat’ before heading back into outer space with the glam rock stompalong of ‘Command’. Against all the odds Ash have finally followed up on the promise of their debut album, having finally found what they’d stopped looking for. There’s a song in there somewhere.