Album: Ash

Meltdown, Infectious
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The Independent Culture

Having secured their UK reputation with the hit-laden Free All Angels, Ash opted to record this follow-up in Los Angeles, their front man, Tim Wheeler, explaining: "I always think American records sound better sonically." They drafted in producer Nick Raskulinecz, best known for his work with The Foo Fighters and System of a Down, and the results are evident from the opening bars of the title-track, which has the taut, swaggering, riffing and solidity of sound associated with the most recent releases by the Foos and Queens of the Stone Age. But although the album features its fair share of US-friendly stoner-rock road songs ("Orpheus") and power ballads ("Starcrossed") - not to mention the heaviest bulldozer riff they've ever recorded (the single "Clones") - Wheeler's unerring melodic sense always anchors their songs firmly in Ash's native pop-metal terrain. With their vocal harmonies, catchy hooks and explosive sex metaphors, tracks such as "Evil Eye" and "Detonator" resemble the Pixies, but wi

Having secured their UK reputation with the hit-laden Free All Angels, Ash opted to record this follow-up in Los Angeles, their front man, Tim Wheeler, explaining: "I always think American records sound better sonically." They drafted in producer Nick Raskulinecz, best known for his work with The Foo Fighters and System of a Down, and the results are evident from the opening bars of the title-track, which has the taut, swaggering, riffing and solidity of sound associated with the most recent releases by the Foos and Queens of the Stone Age. But although the album features its fair share of US-friendly stoner-rock road songs ("Orpheus") and power ballads ("Starcrossed") - not to mention the heaviest bulldozer riff they've ever recorded (the single "Clones") - Wheeler's unerring melodic sense always anchors their songs firmly in Ash's native pop-metal terrain. With their vocal harmonies, catchy hooks and explosive sex metaphors, tracks such as "Evil Eye" and "Detonator" resemble the Pixies, but with the berserk screaming replaced by Wheeler's more amenable tones. The songs deal mainly with the highs and lows of love, tempered by a strong outsider spirit that slips occasionally into the overtly political, as on "Meltdown" itself.

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