In 1996 at the tender age of 19 having just left school in Northern Ireland, Ash released one of the most extraordinary debut albums – ‘1977’ named after the year of two members’ births; the year a number of major punk albums debuted and, of course, the year Star Wars was released. ‘1977’ is filled to the brim with short, sharp pop masterpieces such as ‘Girl From Mars’, ‘Kung Fu and Angel Interceptor’. Even before that, a mini album released in 1994 contained the masterpiece ‘Jack Names the Planets’. Coinciding with the rise of Brit Pop, Ash always forged a different path – melding the sweetest pop melodies with a thunderous heavy rock base.

And the hits kept coming. One of my favourites was ‘A Life less Ordinary’ for the soundtrack of the movie by the same name:

Ash are now celebrating 25 years together with the release of ‘Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years of Ash’ which documents the recorded output, both the hits and lesser known gems from the past twenty-five years. Ash is Tim Wheeler (vocals, guitar), Mark Hamilton (bass), Rick McMurray (drums) and Charlotte Hatherley (guitar). Wheeler has to be one of the most prodigious songwriters of the past twenty five years with an exquisite ear for melody and sardonic, clever lyricism.

In anticipation of this retrospective, Ash have released a new single ‘Darkest Hour of the Night’ – a song which dials down the heavy metal sound to a more electronic based and bouncy sound:

Available here, all the hallmarks remain: the sweet pop melody, the harmonies and the melancholy voice of Wheeler, with added horns. Brilliant as always.

You can see the track listing and preorder the album here in a huge variety of mediums including vinyl and signed copies.

Ash will be touring extensively to support the release – and having seen them live before, they should not be missed. Tickets available here:

FEBRUARY

21 Aeronef Club LILLE, FR
22 Botanique Rotonde BRUSSELS, BE
23 Das Bett FRANKFURT, DE
25 Universum STUTTGART, DE
26 Gebaude 9 COLOGNE, DE
28 Mascotte ZURICH, CH
29 Covo BOLOGNA, IT

MARCH

01 Strom MUNICH, DE
03 Futurum PRAGUE, CZ
04 Hydrozagadka WARSAW,PL
05 Bi Nuu BERLIN, DE
07 Bar Brooklyn STOCKHOLM, SE
08 Vulkan OSLO, NO
10 Hulen BERGEN, NO
11 Folken STAVANGER, NO
13 Beta COPENHAGEN, DK
14 Knust HAMBURG, DE
15 Paradiso Noord AMSTERDAM, NL
17 Stylus LEEDS University, UK
18 O2 Academy NEWCASTLE, UK
20 SWG3 TV Studio GLASGOW, UK
21 O2 Ritz MANCHESTER, UK
22 Rock City NOTTINGHAM, UK
24 O2 Academy BRISTOL, UK
25 Pyramids PORTSMOUTH, UK
27 The Roundhouse LONDON, UK

28 Gibus Club PARIS, FR
29 Le Rex TOULOUSE, FR
31 Razzmataazz 2 BARCELONA, ES

APRIL

01 Kafe Antzokia BILBAO, ES
02 Joy Eslava MADRID, ES
04 RCA Club LISBON,PT
05 Capitol SANTIAGO de COMPOSTELA, ES

Photo Credit: Scarlet Page