Ash Twilights of the Innocent

AshTwilights of the Innocent
Ash front-man Tim Wheeler has made it clear that this fifth proper album will be their last. However, he was quick to add that instead of conventionally releasing music the band will explore the concept of cutting singles in their studio and releasing them immediately after via services like iTunes. With that in mind, Ash have managed to take the full-length out on a high note with Twilights of the Innocent. 2004’s Meltdown was a little too much brawn for the band, and the fact that guitarist Charlotte Hatherley left after ten years of service made it all the more important to get back to the goodness of 1996, essentially when they released their best album, 1977. Eschewing the flaming metallic riffs has done them well, and the return to the stripped down "three boy hardcore action” means Wheeler’s presence as a guitarist is back to carrying Ash’s dominant melodies. His vocal sweetness has hardened over the years but it still rings effectively in great hooks on the pop punk of "Blacklisted” and the imposing orchestrations of "Polaris.” As for their trademark — riff ravaged power pop singles — they’ve come out swinging, with the chugging, guitar-led "Ritual,” the anthemic blast of "I Started A Fire” and, of course, the suggested kiss-off to Hatherley, "You Can’t Have It All.” Though Wheeler does use some abysmally clichéd lyrics on "Palace of Excess” and "End of the World,” Twilights has enough of the classic Ash goodness to show that they’re ready for the next big step. Here’s to another 15 years. (Warner)