No Hot Ashes, Hardship Starship - album review
The debut album from this Stockport indie four-piece harks back to the late-00s when accented lad bands dominated the scene.
The Holloways, The Maccabees, Jamie T - you remember the names and the (mostly) upbeat tunes. The sweaty student club dancefloors with mops of curly hair and skinny jeans everywhere you turned.
But, crucially, they've put their own spin on it. Rather than just spitting about spurned romantic advances over crashing guitars like the old guard - they add a double dose of both suave and micky-taking vibes through the kind of melodic synths Metronomy love to employ.
There's a little bit of everything sprinkled in here, glued together by the production work of Chris Taylor (The Coral, Everything Everything, Ian Brown, Bill Ryder Jones) at Parr Street studios in Liverpool.
CAR symbolises this. It's like an alternative summer anthem from a universe full of spiky electronic vibes and 60s breezy guitar ventures. Think The Jetsons having it large at The Grand Budapest Hotel. Tune in to find out more.
Trouble is slightly more conventional with its guitar-heavier approach to proceedings, parting nicely to allow vocalist Isaac Taylor to half-rap his messages to his fans. It's a nice change of the pace and adds another string to their talent bow.
The off-kilter, heavier-feeling Indecision/Intermission is full of jangling guitar riffs from Taylor and Luigi Di Vuono which play with your attention from both sides. Underneath is a bee-bopping bassline from Jack Walsh that delights with swaggering ease.
The dancing electro in Bellyaches is another direction for their multi-faceted talents.
Another highlight is the spaced-out W.Y.N.A that encapsulates everything discussed above in a real mixing bowl of a song that is monitored closely by the beautiful percussion of Matthew Buckley.
It's closely matched by the zinging melodies of Salbutamol with its quickly changing pace that builds you up and drops you once again with wild abandon.
It's a lot of fun and they don't appear to be taking themselves too seriously at times. "I've got onion rings at my place" is a chat-up line used as part of that last track. It wouldn't work on everyone in real life. But it fits their off-kilter style perfectly.
Well worth a listen to reminisce back to perhaps your student years.
No Hot Ashes arrive at Birmingham's The Sunflower Lounge on September 19