Emo-pop rarely sounded as ambitious or playful as it did on the Anniversary's second -- and final -- album. Given the eclectic mix of prog, folk, punk and power-pop the band draws from on these songs, it's no wonder that creative differences soon got the better of them. Nevertheless, they managed to stick around long enough to make this heartfelt, freewheeling mini-masterpiece.
Flush from the success of Love and Rockets' self-titled album, Ash used his extracurricular time well for his first full solo debut, recruiting a range of performers to help. Most notable would be longtime Bauhaus/Love and Rockets bandmate Kevin Haskins on many kinds of percussion, while the surprise contributor is Natacha Atlas, getting her first major exposure on an album and singing and playing instruments on just about every track. Her excellent vocals here sound nothing like her Arabic-language work most listeners will be familiar with, and she provides a perfect counterpoint to Ash's dry Bolanesque purr.