Ash album review...
Twilight of the Innocents
Fifteen years in rock's frontline and five campaigns under their belt Ash take a final album stand with 'Twilight of the Innocents'. As the title suggests, they are a band in transition, the sun well and truly set on the snotty pop-punklings of yore, the future shrouded in darkness. However, one thing seems clear, time has tamed them.
There is only the occasional moment of genuine ambition here and a number of tracks, 'Shadows' in particular, which veer dangerously close to the AOR abyss. Still, the passing of time seems to have had little effect on Tim Wheeler's ability to fashion a melody of superglue-strength stickability. From the opening 'I Started A Fire', 'Twilight...' is liberally besprinkled with choruses that bust down the door to your affections, make themselves comfortable and then plead squatter's rights.
Bold and direct, 'Blacklisted' and 'Ritual' throw some melodic rock anthem shapes, 'Princess Six' is classic Ash, simultaneously tuneful and boisterous, whilst 'Dark and Stormy' comes on all sweet and swoonsome. However, the best is saved for last, the title track, 'Twilight of the Innocents', looking to break Muse's monopoly on the cosmos-questing rock-opera. But, even here, whilst the sounds soar to the heavens, lyrically Ash remain firmly tethered to earthly, human experience. Indeed, 'Twilight...' is perhaps Wheeler's most intimate and emotionally revealing record to date, drawing upon experience gained, lamenting innocence lost.
A clutch of great songs if not a consistently brilliant affair, as a final album, 'Twilight...' doesn't quite provide the full-on, blaze of glory finale that the Downpatrick boys would have hoped for, but it certainly merits an honourable discharge.