Ash: Teenage Wildlife review – 25 years of punky pop genius

Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 06:30

   
 

Album:
Teenage Wildlife - 25 Years of Ash

Artist:
Ash

Label:
Echo/BMG

Genre:
Rock

The album’s subtitle – 25 Years of Ash – sounds more a history of volcanic disaster than a celebration of (as one of their songs has it) a life less ordinary, but Northern Ireland’s Ash have managed to successfully negotiate the trip from innocent Downpatrick teenagers to (most of the time) moderately well-adjusted adults.

The band burst out of the traps in 1994 with a mini-album, Trailer, and then in 1996 with their debut album proper, 1977. For the past 25 years, the band (who were intrinsically supplemented by London guitarist Charlotte Hatherley from 1997 to 2006) have brushed off various music movements by sticking so closely to a formula that you’re almost surprised they haven’t been swallowed up and spat out by an unforgiving, trend-hopping music industry.

Ash - Jack Names the Planets (2019 remaster)

It seems, however, that many of us just can’t say no to hardwired, dynamic guitar-driven punk/pop that is so much a cut above the rest of the same it’s redundant to compare.

From very early material (Jack Names the Planets, Girl from Mars, Oh Yeah) to mid (Shining Light, There’s a Star, Burn Baby Burn, Sometimes), late (Arcadia) and right now (Annabel, Confessions in the Pool), there is enough certifiable proof here that if you stick to a style, dither around with it occasionally (such as new track Darkest Hour of the Night) without damaging the core, then credible longevity can be yours.