- 18 May 18
More pop-punk kicks from Northern legends.
With a quarter-century career, Ash might be described as reliable purveyors of hooky punk-pop. And so it is that this, their seventh album proper, ticks all the required boxes, and a few more besides.
Islands opens with ‘True Story’, a song that pretty much defines the remainder of the record – it’s a straightforward, three-chord singalong anthem. Self-produced by frontman Tim Wheeler, the album’s sound generally sticks closely to the established Ash playbook: chugging guitars, driving bass, crisp drums and infectious melodies. If anything, it sounds like it’s being beamed directly from the alternative charts circa 1993, and strongly recalls Ash’s erstwhile tourmates Weezer – no bad thing.
There’s a few deviations from the power-pop blueprint: sticksman Rick Murray gives a nice disco beat to ‘Confessions In The Pool’; the slow-burning ‘All That I Have Left’ has an impressive atmospheric feel; and Wheeler showcases his sweetest croon on fab ’60s-style ballad ‘Don’t Need Your Love’.
For the most part, though, pulverising punk-pop is the order of the day, particularly on the catchy single ‘Buzzkill’, featuring Damian O’Neill and Mickey Bradley of The Undertones. Overall, while not a classic in the vein of 1977, Islands will more than keep the Ash faithful happy.
Record label: Infectious
Listen to: 'Buzzkill'
Overall rating: 7/10