ASH - 1977 CD 12 TRACKS (61127)
Written and recorded while a teenage Tim Wheeler was doing his A-levels, 1977
(named after the year Star Wars
was released) made Ash bona-fide indie starlets overnight, largely thanks to the quality of the singles it contains. Their timing couldn't have been better: the summer of 1996 belonged to the Union Jack guitar, and Ash were free to ride the wildsurf of the Britpop tsunami, electrifying everyone with the quirky ("Girl From Mars"), the funny (the Jackie Chan comedy of "Kung Fu") and the best Christmas song ever written by a guitar band--the heartwarming mixture love and science that was "Angel Interceptor".
It is unfortunately hindered by the trademark duvet production of Oasis man Owen Morris, which muffles Rick McMurrey's thunderous drums and does nothing for Wheeler's uniquely flat voice (one of the album's major shortcomings in itself). It also suffers from a monotony produced by its constant full-on nature which a couple of acoustic (or even slower) numbers would have fixed and balanced the album better. If these had replaced some of the more forgettable album tracks here ("Lost In You" and the needlessly bombastic "I'd Give You Any Thing"), then so much the better. Come to reminisce not just for the pubescent memories it evokes within the songs, but also the memories of the time it was released. Or, as Wheeler laments on the teenage love anthem "Oh Yeah", "I sometimes wish it was that summer again". --Ben Johncock