‘Islands’ is the seventh studio album from Ash, who are still telling a story that is relatable and sympathetic to so many of us. The trio from Downpatrick, Northern Ireland have seriously pulled it out of the bag with this album.
It’s not just me who agrees, Ash have received extremely positive feedback after their gig at London Hippodrome (17th May). They were supported by 485C, a big favourite of ours here at TheZineUK. It’s great to see accomplished artists, giving the emerging ones a leg up. It’s a bit like the master and the apprentice kind of thing, that we’re seeing more of lately. But isn’t that how the creative arts should be?
Following on from our recent review of the single, ‘Annabel’, This album is a spiritual journey; one that’s full of raw beauty, displaying truth, healing and a poetic, existential crisis.
Beginning with ‘True Story’ which is a quintessential example of why we love Ash. The song is about listening beyond the words, not always taking things on face value. But it’s also about being honest with ourselves. Is what we tell others in alignment with what we tell ourselves?
Off we go into ‘Buzzkill’ which sounds like a summer anthem. I love this track, because it displays the highs and lows of life that we all experience. More importantly, it’s about having plans, having goals and them being thrown up in the air or stopped, and learning to brush that off and move on. Who hasn’t had cool plans lined up, then something or someone comes along and puts a wrench in it: buzzkill. Yet again, it’s almost like Ash have opened a little window into our lives,and relayed it back to us.
Then we come across ‘All That I Have Left’. A song all about a relationship coming to an end, accepting that despite being flooded with memories. All the things that could’ve been done different, things that should’ve have been said…or not. Very objective, but the end gives you the moral that there’s lessons to be learned.
It’s a theme that is carried into the track ‘Somersault‘. It’s about liberation from fear, going with the flow, going for what you want; just diving right into the path ahead, without knowing where it leads or what the outcome will be. It’s a mindset that can inspire and lead others. As Tim sings out “that’s the way I want to be” . You can’t get more self- explanatory (and exploratory) than that. Have no fear in being yourself. Hey if I wasn’t myself, I wouldn’t be writing this right now!
‘Did Your Love Burn Out?’ brings us a classic rock ‘n’ roll sound (with a touch of the blues), encircled with a poem asking why did a relationship go so wrong. The guitar riff is a beautiful background to the story that’s being built.
Without a doubt personally, my favourite track is ‘It’s A Trap’. It’s reminds me of that old quote “don’t grow up, it’s a trap”, but it also turns that quote on its head. If you’re going through a dark period in your life, I highly recommend this tune. With the beautiful harmony of the minor key, Tim’s vocals and the guitar solo, you find yourself getting a bit lost in the song, whilst silently reminding yourself to not give up. Your time is coming, your breakthrough is around the corner. Emotional, uplifting, radiant.
To summarise ‘Islands’, I am in absolute awe of this album, plus the fact that Ash have not changed their identity in order to fit in with the music/pop culture box of “now”. They have proven that being yourself, makes you more relevant and significant, than you could ever imagine.
- True Story
- Confessions In The Pool
- All That I Have Left
- Don’t Need Your Love
- Did Your Love Burn Out?
- Silver Suit
- It’s A Trap
- Is It True?
- Incoming Waves
Multi-talent Monefa is Caffy’s assistant PR Princess at ArtBeat and a piano playing star. A regular contributor to The Zine UK both online and at our socials.