ASH – The A-Z Series (3 LPs)

Album: The A-Z Series

Artist: Ash

Label: No Yes

Release Date: November 13, 2012

 

www.noyesrecords.com

Yes, to answer that question you were just asking yourself, Ash – those mid-‘90s Irish rockers and teen movie soundtrack staples – are still around. And based on their latest collection, time has been pretty kind to these kids.

When the group first surfaced, their US labels seemed to be in constant conflict about whether to pin them down as a Brit Pop also-rans (despite being Irish) alongside Blur and Oasis, or capitalize on their music’s bratty lyrics and three-minute bursts of energy and throw them into the pop-punk bin alongside Green Day and The Offspring.  Turns out, the band’s sound is still straddling the line between both genres.

 

Originally available only as an import on two separate CDs (Vols. I & II), No Yes Records has finally released this collection in the US on a three vinyl set. The 26-song The A-Z Series was part of an ambitious experiment by the band to record and release a new song every two weeks for a full year. And the result is pretty amazing. Even given restraints that many bands would set aside after the first month, there are very few throwaway tracks in the collection.

Yes, some are better than others (the synth-heavy “Space Shot” might have been during one of the fallow periods), but there are a handful of songs that rate right up there with tracks they turned out on their critically-praised debut 1977 (like the slow-build “Joy Kicks Darkness” or the infectiously laid back “Pripyat”).

If The A-Z Series is an indication of what’s out there, it might be time to leave Brooklyn for a while and see what other under-the-radar ‘90sbands are up to nowadays.

DOWNLOAD: “Joy Kicks Darkness,” “Pripyat” and “Dionysian Urge  –JOHN B. MOORE

Ash