Ash

Intergalactic Sonic 7"s

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Import? Is that all for this fabulous singles LP? Are they crazy? While the last two LPs have been pretty damn great, Ash has often seemed like a punky 2000s version of a '60s pop group, where each song takes over your radio for weeks. One sugar-rush melody melts into another wall-of-guitar burner with Tim Wheeler's "infectious" happy-go-lucky vocals, and you wonder why they never had a singles LP collection before this! Really, if Northern Ireland-bred and London-based Ash is like a lesser cross between the Buzzcocks' big power and their Ulster forebears the Undertones' "chocolate and girls" sunny disposition, then who put out better singles LPs way back when than those two bands? It's hard to get the unfamiliar to shell out for import LPs when cheaper domestic ones still peek out of the bins. But anyone still undecided or unenlightened about this delightful quartet is well served by this consistent 19-song, big-hook collection. Even the rougher, merely good earlier singles, when they were a kid trio, stand up in the best light. The old likes of "Girl from Mars," "Kung Fu," and "Jack Names the Planets" (all of which they kick harder on now as a quartet), as well as the Ride-like "Oh Yeah," are like a wild boy freshly scrubbed and dressed for a wedding when surrounded by the more recent wonders of the pulsing "A Life Less Ordinary," the breakneck "Burn Baby Burn," the toe-tapping "Walking Barefoot," and the twinkling "Shining Light." And if all that isn't enough, there's Cosmic Debris, a bonus disc of 22 B-sides going back a decade, including some highly unusual picks for covers. This serves the fans and newcomers equally, so there's no argument against it. [The Sony version of Intergalactic Sonic 7"s features two additional tracks, "Get Out" and "Cherry Bomb," that are not included on the Infectious label release.]

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