At Britpop’s peak in the mid to late 1990s, there was a huge variety of different and prominent bands from the UK who created an energetic and interesting catalogue of music that still sounds great today. In retrospect, Ash was one of the bands of the time that garnered such interest, particularly with this album, their debut album, produced by the guy who invented “brick walling” production, Owen Morris. Is it any good, however? Let’s find out.
Lose Control begins with a Star Wars tie-fighter sampled intro, followed quickly by some expressive guitar parts. Instantly, this then launches into a fast, furious and glorious sounding tune. Some calm singing emerges, rather than screaming over these raw, yet powerful guitars. A really nice, energetic and lively listening experience, this sounds very punchy and direct. It’s akin to Punk Rock but updated for the 1990s here. Nonetheless, a really cool and explorative listen. This is way better than anything bands such as The Jam in the first wave of Punk ever did. In the second half, a huge drum roll launches this piece into a manic instrumental section with a wah-wah guitar solo. Excellent and brilliant, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. A very top listen, this sounds wonderfully good. A good three and a half minutes of powerful Pop/Rock music. Brilliant.
Goldfinger is a likely reference to the 007 film and sounds slower but pulsating full of energy, still. A really fine and fantastic tune, this song launches fairly quickly into a post-Grunge tune that sounds gloriously British and wonderful. It is a really amazing listen throughout, and this song is a great listening experience itself. Towards the middle of the song is a brief slowdown, with some pretty singing present here. In short, this tune is a really cool piece of music that is a decent mixture of Punk, Pop and 1990s sensibilities. Fine and fantastic listen, this is extremely underrated music. A cool and clever tune, this does deserve to be heard. It just sounds very cool and amazing, with a lo-fi/slacker sounding musical edge. This is terrific music for a new take on Punk Rock in the 1990s. Great work. The ending is mint.
Girl From Mars begins with some great acoustic guitars and singing, before launching into a very loud and heavy set of guitars. This is musical brilliance, and it sure sounds really cool and amazing. Nicely played and performed, this song is really fine and cool. A nice tale of youthful innocence and young love/lust, this is very underrated and should be heard by more. In any case, the music is very heavy and there is a nice, heavily overdriven sound to the guitars. There is a nice guitar solo present as well. In the second half, the acoustic guitars and purely smooth vocals return, before this song returns in overdriven glory. Great effort throughout, a must hear. The outro is excellent, segueing into the next song.
I’d Give You Anything begins with some kill-switch style volume based feedback sounds, launching quickly into a loud and punchily dramatic tune. Everything is in sync here, before launching into a cool and fantastic tune. This is not a million miles away from a good mixture of Punk Pop and Grunge stylistically, matched by perfect sounding tunes. All the same, this music is extraordinarily good. A cool and groovy tune with some nice production, Ash sound legendary. Some simple lyrics, pounding drums, punchy Rock guitars and other excellent sounds make this sound really fantastic. There is a weird guitar solo that has a load of different sound effects on it, along with some reversed sections of the guitar solo itself. A fantastic piece of music, this must be heard to be appreciated. The multitracked guitar soloing continues all the way through to the end. Nice work by Ash. Brilliant tune.
Gone The Dream begins with some tremolo sound effected guitars, quickly launching into a 1990s melancholy ballad. The music and singing here are even calmer than usual, Ash was obviously not a one-hit-wonder type of group. Instead, this tune, complete with a string section in the background, does very well. The music on this song is extraordinarily good. A very nice and refreshing listening experience, this is a very lovely song to listen to. The guitar solo has a unique tone to it, very much sounding unlike anything else in the history of music. This tune is ridiculously good, it just is really fantastic. Great and wonderful listening, this fits a sad mood that one may have from time to time. Really awesome, and worth your time. It ends with the string section and overdriven guitars sustaining nicely, good work.
Kung Fu begins with some sampled Kung Fu beatups from movies, before quickly launching into a fast paced piece of music, complete with handclaps and a good Punkish feel about it. Again, this is consistent and amazing to hear. This is proof that keeping music simple and focused creates some winning songs. The second half has a neat percussion based breakdown, with some overdriven and crunchy guitars. This is wonderfully good, and it sounds really cool and amazing. With lyrical references to Jackie Chan, the famous movie martial arts star, this concludes after only just over two minutes long. Great effort.
Oh Yeah begins with a cool Poppy sounding piece of Britpop, yet with Ash’s typical Punk driven edge. All the same, this tune sounds really cool and passionate, with a pseudo-Lou Reed vocal. This is a romantic sounding song that does brilliantly. Teenage romance is done very well in this piece, and this is an excellent band to sing about the matter. A really passionate and powerful piece of music, this sounds extraordinarily good. This builds up really well, complete with a string section playing in the background. A brilliant piece of beauty and energy, this does sound very impressive. An interesting and moving listen from start to finish, the insane sounding guitar solo powers this along very well. A cool tune and this definitely is worth hearing. A great tune, with some impressive dynamic sounds throughout. The ending is sweet.
Let It Flow begins with some eerie spacey sounds before the clacking of drumsticks enters. Soon enough, this launches right into a punchy and powerful piece of music. It sounds really awesome and terrific, and this song is really fine and awesome. This is more music about teenage love/lust for the opposite sex, but the music present is infinitely good. Ash shows the world what an amazing bunch of musicians they can be. This is extremely underrated, and for that, it should have been up there with Nirvana and Oasis in terms of 1990s popularity and appreciation. All in all, this is youthful and expressive music, the sort of thing that most Hippies would hate today. The combination of ambivalent, yet melodic singing, Punk styled guitars and pounding drums make Ash a great listen. Really awesome music, this needs to be heard by any harder music fans or history loving Punk rockers. Excellent tune, along with the others. Nice work.
Innocent Smile begins with some unusual feedback from guitars, some of which is quite unbearable. Soon enough, this launches into a mid-tempo piece about the life that young people experience. The vocals are almost inaudible, but despite this, the tune is very much enjoyable. It is catchy enough to forgive such a flaw of the mix, however, and Ash delivers this very well on this tune. Great music, this sounds extremely decent and consistent all the same. With some insane guitar riffs, this tune sounds incredibly cool. A lively, suspenseful and energetic piece of music, this is a much better fit to inspire new bands than the first album by The Velvet Underground ever did. A really cool and great listening experience, Ash makes good tunes. It speeds up gradually in the second half, getting faster and more manic, surprisingly. Eventually, the band are mixed out over a load of multitracked guitars. A very weird number, but interesting nonetheless. It ends with some surreal sounds, followed by the final verses of this awesome tune. Wonderful and excellent.
Angel Interceptor begins with some spacey electronic sounds and great vocal harmonies, quickly launching into a solidly great piece of Pop Punk that does extremely well. This is a more mainstream sounding song about missing someone with who one is in love with. In any case, Ash does very well again on this song, and it is a picturesque piece of music. With singing about a lady one is interested in, Ash does Pop/Rock very, very well. Worth repeated listens, this music is very wonderful and euphoric. With references to an experience of meeting an angel from heaven, this song launches into a glorious guitar solo that is very shred-worthy. A brilliant tune about being in love. Great song.
Lost In You begins with some clean and melodic guitar parts that sound fantastic. These are descending in nature. Soon enough, this song gets going and it goes into a story about more romance and feelings for a lover. Musically, this is really fantastic. Simple, beautiful and melodic music, this sounds essential. More of a ballad than a Rock song, Ash still sounds great here. “I can’t think straight because it’s tearing up my mind…” is a typical lyrical line about missing someone late at night when alone without them. A very awesome and clever tune, the musical approach of this album is not hugely dissimilar to that of Oasis or Nirvana, in the sense that Ash is influenced heavily by Punk music. Still, this is different but fantastic to hear. A great ballad, and a cool addition to a classic album. “You are always on my mind,” indeed, if you are in love with a partner of your own. This ends with a bit of guitar feedback, great effort.
Darkside Lightside is the final track on this album. It is loud, fast and aggressive, right from the beginning. The song title itself may be a reference to Star Wars, but the music present is blisteringly fast. A quick, short, sharp shock of a tune, Ash concludes an excellent album with a decent song for sonic impact. Driven, fast and forward thinking, this tune is another great pleasure to hear. The guitar solos are discordant and manic but are still excellent. Towards the middle is a really cool breakdown, and this tune sounds really interesting as a result. Vocal harmonies are everywhere on this part, along with some creative guitar sounds. A very nice job indeed, this concludes a very fun and essential listening experience from Ash. A lengthy fade out occurs, followed by some really spacey noises at the very end of this song. Fantastic.
Ash proved, at least on the music here, that one could take the origins of Punk, Pop and Britpop, and create something hugely underrated and legendary. That is this album, an overlooked masterpiece that demands repeat listens. The best cross ever between the romanticism of the 1960s, the Punk of the 1970s and the alternative nature of the 1990s, do seek this one out. You will not be disappointed.
The fast and the furious.