Ash matures into marbled hard rockers on ‘KABLAMMO!’ (Review)
Irish rockers Ash have been churning out spring-loaded punk-pop since the mid-'90s. During these two decades, the trio have matured from bratty romantics with a heart of gold into marbled hard rockers, while expanding their knack for sterling chorus hooks and a tendency toward sincere expressions of love and longing. All of these elements are present in spades on Ash's first studio record in eight years. In fact, as its name implies, KABLAMMO! is exuberant and energetic, from two-minute power-pop blasts ("Cocoon," "Shutdown") to the yelping, All American Rejects-like "Hedonism" and the standout "Go! Fight! Win!," which pairs stomping cheerleader chants with a ferocious, riff-happy guitar solo. Better yet, KABLAMMO! even succeeds when it puts the brakes on fuzz and speed: The indie-leaning "Free" boasts strings, while "For Eternity" is a keening piano ballad and "Bring Back The Summer" is retro-misted electropop with blippy synths and drum machines.