Ash Meltdown

Ash Meltdown
After bouncing around from label to label here in North America, Ireland-cum-England’s Ash finally look comfortable with the up and coming Record Collection label (home of the Walkmen, Har Mar Superstar and John Frusciante). Having already gone gold in the UK, Ash’s fifth album, Meltdown, finds the band cranking their amps to maximum volume to dole out the heavier riffs they’ve been craving all these years. Of course, nothing is powerful enough to edge out singer Tim Wheeler’s lip-smacking melodies, which again prove he is one of the most talented power-pop songsmiths around. The title track opens the gates with guns a blazing, featuring the chorus of "I think my head is gonna explode” that sets the pace for a non-stop thrill ride. "Orpheus” follows suit with an almost indescribable riff that bounces brilliantly against Rick McMurray’s rolling drums, while the "Sunshine in the morning…” hook strikes with a powerful warm and fuzzy punch. Their ambition of finding a harder, pounding rock sound does falter a smidge with "Clones,” which messes around with a few too many pedal effects that leave the experienced listener a little apprehensive. However, Ash have never backed down from a challenge and the experiment is a commendable one that doesn’t disturb the balance of the album. Elsewhere it’s all good as "Out of the Blue” features a tasty guitar trill; "Renegade Cavalcade” finds the band slowly slithering before they attack with their guitars showing; and "Starcrossed” boasts Wheeler’s gift for pensive love songs. Ash are ready to explode and overload you with some mighty tuneage. (Record Collection)