Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Album Review: Ash's Twilight of the Innocent

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I've been a fan of Ash ever since I saw them live at the CD101 fest a few years ago. They are a great Pop/Rock from Northern Ireland who has had a few hits everywhere but here in America. This is one of those mysteries that only Robert Stack will be able to figure out. Even though the new album, Twilight of the Innocents, came out in June I was unable to get my hands on a copy, come to find out there aer multiple iTunes based on what country you are in. So I could not buy it there because it's only on the UK iTunes. A few weeks ago I finally find a semi cheap ($16) price for an import and I ordered it.

Twilight is a slight departure from the traditional Ash sound, but in this case it is not a bad thing. The album has a lot of hard guitar riffs, but has what I call a more mature sound. Twilight has a very tight sound and a good beat all the way through. The last album, Meltdown, was a balls to the wall rock album which is how Ash plays live, but Twilight is a little more mellow and doesn't have as many tempo swings.

The first Track I Started a Fire is an up tempo song about losing someone and wanting them back. Tim Wheeler pours his soul out and his vocals off the top keep the song moving till everyone kicks in. The thing about is is that a lot of the songs are what most consider love songs, but for some reason they don't have that feel. It's the way Tim crafts the lyrics:

I want to know, I want to hold
the girl that can't be owned
let into your soul
deep inside your mystery
a vow of secrecy, never let you go
she can't be owned
Considering most love songs today that's pretty Shakespearean compared to the Pussy Cat Dolls.
Next is You Can't Have it All (the video up top), so what do you do after a love song about someone you can't have? How about a rejection, I would say this is the closest to any song off their last album, but has a more modern feel, I want to say a more Emo feel without all the bangs and suck. There's a very heavy bass line and a very precis matching drum beat that keeps the song moving. This is by far my favorite song on the album, I've hit the back button may a times.
The second single off the album was Polaris a song about a relationship that is on the rocks and someone is afraid of dragging the other down and destroying them. For the first time on the album you hear piano and at first I looked around wondering where that came from. It works and as the chorus starts you get a string section. A very pretty song made more poignant by the video. It actually changes the song for me. It's no long about dragging someone down, but about loosing someone because of the world climate we are in.
Track number six, End of the World, is the midpoint of the album and the slowest tempo, but its a very pretty song. I am about the same age the three guys in Ash and End of the World rings very true with me. It's about felling felt behind by society, I am no long, IT and everything is geared towards the younger generations. Also talks about how we are destroying nature for advancement and how we need to keep something as is.
The 12th and final track is an epic song and title track. It uses a lot of piano, stings and electronic sound and for some reason I can not get the chorus out of my head
I'm still breathing, my heart still beating
I'm still breathing, my heart still beating
I'm still breathing, my heart still beating
It's almost like they wanted a rock opera feel and pulled it off. Very beautiful and a great way to end the album. A lot of times the last song on an album always seems tacked on and is just there. Ash actually used this song to close the album.
Even though I did not give a review on everyone the album is from front to back a great work of art. I've listened to it at least 15 times now and I am not sick of it yet. I the one thing I've struggled with it is the beginning of every song seems not to dictate how the song is going song 30 seconds later. I every once in a while I will want to hit skip on the CD player, but then I have to remind myself that I really like the song.
I could see about half of these songs getting air play here in the States, but I don't think it will happen. after five other albums and multiple movie tie-ins (Angus, Shaun of the Dead, and a Star Wars video game to a name a few) and still not a blip on the scene, then I don't think it will ever happen. It's a shame though, but at least I have a little something that most here do not know about.

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