Friday, September 21, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 69: Ash - Trailer

Album - Trailer
Artist - Ash
Key Players - Tim Wheeler - Guitar,Lead Vocals, Mark Hamilton - Bass, Rick McMurray - Drums
Produced By - Ash, Timothy Russell and Marc Waterman

Release Date
- October 1994

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I had read somewhere recently about the slow death of the compact disc and Ash was rumored to have said their next album would not be a real "album" it would probably be a down load version or something. It had been a while since I listened to any Ash cds so, here you go.

Overview - Picking the first short word they like in the dictionary, ASH is born in 1992. The trio of teenagers from Downpatrick, Northern Ireland would release a series of ep's before "Trailer" came out. Called "Trailer" as they viewed it as a preview of what was to come from the band in a proper debut album. The band would slowly build a larger fan base with exciting live shows and a stream of hits overseas. The band has toured extensively as both openers and headliners. Often, the band will be one of the marquee acts at European Music Festivals.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- Before we begin, just a note that this review is on the US Version of the album and includes 11 total tracks.

The cd opens with "Season" a crunchy and spunky rock track. You are quickly exposed to what the sound of Ash is. A technical trio they might not be, but make up for in sheer power. Launched as a single "Jack Names the Planets" is a great crunchy guitar song. After a short spoken word intro the distorted guitar fires off. The bass has the right amount of crunch and compression to complement the guitar. Still the song I reach for first for people new to Ash. "Intense Thing" has a little cleaner sound at the outset, but it doesn't take long for the band to bring it back. The vocals are somewhat buried in the mix, but one needs to remember this is basically a collection of demo tapes and early eps. The band gets a chance to play more as the song is considerably "long" for an early Ash tune (over 4 minutes). Opening with more drums and bass "Uncle Pat" follows suit of a 4/4 rock beat. The vocals are delivered a little slower and "calmer" than previous tracks. All that changes as the very punk infused "Get Out" does the old quick in and out, rocking and stopping. Its under 1:30 so the band has its punk rock moment here. "Petrol" was released as a single. It is a catchy, quick song with the bass line underneath and frantic guitars that suddenly change direction and become mellower with an occasional heavy riff from the guitar. Musically its a pretty good slice of the Ash cake. "Obscure Thing" keeps a pretty simple drum beat throughout and the vocals are more "screamed" than anything. Its a heavy track, but for some reason falls somewhat flat. What is perhaps one of the more unique song titles you'll hear "Hulk Hogan Bubblebath" begins with guitar crunching. The vocals are more 'spoken' than sung, and its a mellow, brooding track, as the vocals are delivered. The bass and drums keep somewhat of a monotone pace and the guitar has some feedback on occasion. Guitar fans may like the mid to end section of the song but overall casual fans might find it a little pretentious. Another harder, punky feeling track "Different Today" jumps out of the speakers at you. As the title suggests "Punk Boy" has that very feel. The track is a cover of the Helen Love track. Its a good version of the song and you'd be surprised to realize you probably recognize it. Closing out the cd is the dirty rocking track "Day of the Triffids" which sounds like an early Clash cast off perhaps, fun none the less.

Where are they now? - Ash are still active both in the studio and live. The major change to the three piece was the addition of guitarist/vocalist Charlotte Hatherley from 1997 to 2006. She left the band to focus more on her solo career

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - When I first heard Ash I waited and waited for them to tour and it seemed like it never happened. Then in the course of 2-3 years it was like you could not blink without the band announcing another show in the area. Somehow, I still haven't seen the band perform live.

FDF Overall Take - This is a pretty rough album, mostly due to the fact its early demos and the like. What is amazing is how success has eluded the band in mainstream America. Overseas the band has had five top 10 albums as well as 16 top 40 singles. In this day and age of "one album and you are done if it is not a hit" its nice that this band continues to get a shot. It should happen for them, or there is really something wrong.

Official Site
Myspace page
Very good fan site
Download some live stuff here
A list of links for guitar tabs, fan sites and the like can be found here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

**mp3's removed Oct 26, 2007 3:32 ET***
Jack Names the Planets
Punk Boy

Buy it here
here or here

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 8:18 AM, Blogger Kris said...

Seems your choices are getting more and more obscure. I've just never heard any of the latest selections so I can't comment.

At 9:53 AM, Blogger The Guinness Tooth said...

I've seen Ash twice open for Coldplay, and both times they sounded like crap. I've heard a few of their albums and I thought they were okay, but live I couldn't make out anything being sung, nor did the music sound like it was being played through a proper PA. Maybe Coldplay just wanted to sound extra good by sabotaging the opener.


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