Ash

1977

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Two-thirds of Ash were born in 1977, which means that their latter-day punk-pop isn't very Catholic. Instead of sticking to the rigid rules of American punk-pop -- which means you can't stretch the song past three minutes -- Ash take a cinematic approach to their songs, throwing in elements of power pop, glam, post-Nirvana grunge, and post-Oasis rock. It's a melting pot of pop styles, basically because the members of the band are so young, they haven't conformed to the standards of the indie and punk subcultures. Sure, Ash still use loud guitars -- they're all over 1977 -- but they create a distinctive, melodic, and energetic sound that's equal parts heavy grunge and light pop. And while they may indulge in jamming a bit too much, they remain a pop band at heart, capable of turning out epic guitar pop like "Goldfinger," punk-pop like "Kung Fu," and the lovely but loud "Girl from Mars" with equal flair.

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