With ASK FOR IT, Hole widens the gap between the dirge-like tangle of self-indulgence so evident on PRETTY ON THE INSIDE and the slicker, more confident band that churned out LIVE THROUGH THIS. The EP captures Hole with its initial rhythm section, drummer Carolyn Rue and bassist Jill Emery, and shows the enormous growth even that incarnation of the group had undergone.
More than either of the full-length albums, ASK FOR IT gives insight into Courtney Love's musical and geological past. Calling the Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes" the "original new waver" and putting enough force into The Wipers' "Over The Edge" to levitate a tank, the 1992-era Hole are brutal, sloppy and deadly. Their rendition of Beat Happening's "Hot Chocolate Boy" brings out Love's sarcasm to the forefront. On ASK FOR IT, her take on Olympia, Washington's punk scene and the yo-yo throwing innocence of Beat Happening is respectful--unlike the scathing "Olympia" which closes LIVE THROUGH THIS. And in the comparatively innocent demo versions of "Doll Parts" and "Violet" we see not only the strength of Hole Mach II, but a raw glimpse into Love's grim self-image--the uncensored cover art shows healing slit wrists, a Love design.
ASK FOR IT is an unflinching portrait of Courtney Love emerging as the Diva of Destruction; more importantly, it shows how Hole is a band. Not yet the drawn fist of LIVE THROUGH THIS, ASK FOR IT is a necessary snapshot of a band about to explode.