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Artist: Ash
Label: Infectious UK
Length: 11 tracks
Every couple of years or so I turn up my stereo to number 10 on the volume control and  turn on the new Ash album. They don’t fit into the genres I am most comfortable with but  they win every time. Meltdown is no exception. Following the purest power pop of Free All Angels which filled their parent’s Downpatrick homes with Awards the boys and Charlotte did have to do something different; it is what the industry expects. So what they have attempted to do is to go a little heavier, a little more rawk! I am turning it up to 11 this time! The Darknesss preposterous posturing gave them a pop excuse to over  indulge in the air guitar solos and with a serious intent on “America,” they recorded in the same studio as Nirvana laid down Nevermind. But the cover is the heaviest thing about Meltdown. Tim Wheeler might try, and at times I think he does, to ignore his pop sensibility but it always comes through in the end. Only “Clones” fails to deliver completely and Meltdown their political song written after a peace demonstration, “Orpheus,”  “Starcrossed,” and “Renegade Cavalcade” should be the singles to keep it on the radio for a good while to come. Ash are maturing into serious contenders for the long haul. A little more depth to Wheeler’s lyrics and they could get better yet. 
Steve Stockman  7/12/2004
Steve Stockman is the Presbyterian Chaplain at Queens University, Belfast, Ireland, where he lives in community with 88 students. He has just finished a book on U2, Walk On; The Spiritual Journey of U2, is the poetic half of Stevenson and Samuel who have just released their debut album Gracenotes, and he has a weekly radio show on BBC Radio Ulster (listen anytime of day or night @ He has his own web page--Rhythms of Redemption at He also tries to spend some time with his wife Janice and daughters Caitlin and Jasmine



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