A few weeks ago I was listening to the Ash record 1977 and wondered what the band was up to these days. A quick search on line and I discovered they actually had a new record out. I'm not sure if that says that I'm not able to pay attention as closely as I once was, or if Ash's new record isn't being met with that much fanfare.
I've really liked Ash for quite some time, but over the years they've been a frustratingly inconsistent band. Well, it's probably more accurate to say they've been consistently frustrating as every other record of theirs is good, while the follow up isn't so much. Starting with the first album I had, the aforementioned 1977 which is great. Its follow-up Nu-Clear Sounds was a pretty big let down. After that we had Free All Angels, which I thought was a thousand times better, but that high was brought back down by the next record Meltdown. The band was back on form with Twilight of The Innocents next.
Then the band decided to abandon the album format and release twenty six one sided 7"s each representing a letter of the alphabet. Though I guess not an album proper, those songs effectively make up a full length (albeit a long full length) that really wasn't very good. I actually gave up on picking up all of the 7"s as it is hard to get motivated to spend so much money on songs you don't really like. I would like to finish up the set for nerdy completist purchases one day, but that will have to wait.
All of that back and forth leads us to the band's newest; Kablammo. Lo and behold Ash is back to making another pretty great record. There's no goofy experimentation, there's very little in the way of ambient electronica swooshes and noises in the background. What the band decided to do was record and release a bunch of catchy rock songs. Perfect. Please Ash, just keep doing this. Keep giving me songs as great as "Cocoon" and "Headonism." I have no problem with the occasional slower song mixed like "Free" within the context of an album like this. It all works together.
I feel that inevitably the band will do something wacky with their next record, it's just what they do. But, at least I can enjoy Kablammo for right now and take solace that the band always seems to come back to writing great guitar pop songs once they get those weird ideas out of their system.
Ash - "Cocoon":
Ash - "Hedonism":