It’s a long time since we thought we had lost Ash to the world of albums. The A-Z single series produced some undeniably fine songs, but there wasn’t the same excitement for a new single every fortnight that we get from an eagerly anticipated album. That exhilaration is magnified especially after an extended period away. There was no reason to fret as ‘Kablammo!’ ranks among Ash’s very best work.
Even from their teens , Ash have always been careering to please one side of their musical brains. Moving from more melodic indie pop punk to heavier grunge metal. ‘Kablammo!’s title may suggest it’s got the heft to veer closer to ‘Meltdown’ but in truth it’s the spiritual successor to ‘Free All Angels’. ‘Kablammo!’ is full of punchy power pop that helped establish Ash as one of the finest bands to emerge from this island.
It kicks off with the propulsive Cocoon which has that sherbet explosion to instantly satisfy. Ash have always known how to provide us with copious amounts of adolescent thrills and they are in abundance on ‘Kablammo!’. Let’s Ride, Dispatch, Go! Fight! Win!, Hedonism and Shutdown are liberally sprinkled with the sort of infectious hooks and melodies that most bands are lucky enough to get on maybe a single song in their career.
Ash even throw in a galloping western instrumental in the shape of Evel Knievel which is the vein of the intro to Muse’s Knights Of Cydonia.
Some of the slower paced tunes like For Eternity, Moondust feel like a natural continuation from the song writing Tim Wheeler was doing on his debut solo album last year. They are mature, grown up songs that simultaneously reflect on Ash’s golden years while reminding us that they remain a force to be reckoned with.
It’s as if they are aware of this themselves and reference it with on the nostalgia tinged Bring Back The Summer. The latter acts as a metaphor for Kablammo! as a whole.
Ash are back and the tunes are killer , it’s as if nothing has changed.