Although only in their twenties, Northern Ireland's Ash have been around for many years, and have survived hard times as well as revelling in real success, including this collection of singles. Their tracks vary quite a bit, ranging from the intense shouty Numbskull to the pop-tastic Wildsurf, the beautifully poignant Sometimes and the exhuberantly orchestral Candy. Essentially they hinge around power-pop, with airy riffs and optimistic lyrics, mostly about love and lust. Anyone who likes Weezer or Fountains Of Wayne will love this.
Most of the tracks on here are extremely impressive - both Shining Light (a melancholic ballad which can be seen as being about love, God or drugs, depending on interpretation) and Burn Baby Burn (the ultimate in singalong rock) having won Single Of the Year awards (for the same year). Sometimes is my absolute favourite though, the sheer beauty has to be heard to be believed.
The earlier hits such as Girl From Mars and Oh Yeah have such wistful innocence and joie de vivre that it's hard not to be impressed, especially as the band wrote them while still at school. Although their Nu-Clear Sounds album wasn't as commercially successful, it supplies three great tracks here - Numbskull, Jesus Says and Wildsurf.
The second disk is superb as well, comprising some of their classic bonus tracks. They've clearly taken a lot of pride in many of these, most would be up to album standard, and several (especially The Sweetness Of Death, Nocturne and 13th Floor) could easily be hts in their own right. The Sweetness of Death is almost certainly the only song ever to make a melody out of the word 'melatonin', which has to be worth something in itself.