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Ash - 1977,
This review is from: 1977 [East West Release] (Audio CD)
Buzzing with youthful energy, Ash burst out of the traps at the height of Britpop with this debut. Named after the year Star Wars was released, 1977 begins with the sounds of an X-wing fighter plane soaring off into space. What follows is a variable collection of pop songs packed with oceans of guitar and blurred production. Tracks like Kung Fu, with it's aimless ramblings on the subjects of Jackie Chan and Fu Man Chu, betray the occasionally banal side of singer/lyricist Tim Wheeler's muse. Others, such as I'd Give You Anything and Lose Control, contain great rock riffs and creatively disorganised guitar solos, but little in the way of lyrical enlightenment. However, these minor imperfections are overshadowed by some of the murky brilliance this record contains. Take the wonderfully innocent Girls From Mars, for example; a warming tale of summer love, featuring the amusing choral couplet "We'd stay up late playing cards/Henri Winterman cigars". At first these observations seem ridiculous, but after repeat listening they acquire a certain charm. Oh Yeah is almost the in the same vein, yet far more hormonal, far less mysterious, and even better. Completed by evocative female backing vocals, Wheeler's teenage love anthem is the best thing on the album. Other delights include the riff-laden rock of Goldfinger and even a Christmas song, Angel Interceptor. An intriguing beginning for the Irish band.