- 10 Apr 01
Of all their undeniable qualities, it is Ash’s bone dry sense of humour and their eye for unnervingly absurd detail that bodes most auspiciously for their long-term future.
The members of Ash are notoriously short in the tooth. What media coverage this Belfast band have received thus far has dwelt almost exclusively on their conspicuous youth and on how accomplished they are for a bunch of schoolkids. Absolute bollocks! In a mere seven songs lasting just a little over twenty-four minutes, Trailer proves conclusively that, by any standards, Ash are a rock band of genuine stature. Their age is irrelevant, a matter between them and their local off-licence.
The gameplan is familiar: teeth-gnashing guitars, pile-driving drums and melancholy, eerie vocals. However, it is a measure of these three guys’ confidence and musical acumen that they manage to transform such workaday ingredients into such a tasty and inspired brew. Their best songs are seamed with a swagger and verve that packs a ballistic punch, but is also instantly alluring. Messrs. Wheeler, Hamilton and McMurray are trash virtuosos. They have mastered one of rock’s greatest tricks, the art of bullet-headed charm.
The opening track, ‘Season’, is a minor classic, a tale of love and suicide that is chillingly effective not least because it rides in the saddle of a steeplechasing riff which just never gives up. Elsewhere, ‘Jack Names The Planets’ is an irresistibly brain-sucking pop song that brings to mind The Buzzcocks at their sharpest, while the extraordinary ‘Petrol’ is an unleaded geyser of melody, attitude and general weirdness. Of all their undeniable qualities, it is Ash’s bone dry sense of humour and their eye for unnervingly absurd detail that bodes most auspiciously for their long-term future. There’s a pleasantly warped and toxic undertow to most of their material which suggests that they’re already bored with playing by the conventional rules.