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Twilight of the Innocents Digital Spy album review

Published: July, 2007
Source: Digital Spy

So. This number, ‘they’ say, is to be the very last Ash album, if their publicity people are to be believed. Whether this is in fact the case remains to be seen, but on the latest evidence, Twilight of the Innocents is a stonking effort from a band that have somehow managed to survive the buffeting waves of the oh-so-cruel music industry and have decided to take their music to what they believe to be the future for bands like them - and it doesn’t include albums.

There’s a gorgeously retro sound to album opener “I Started a Fire” that puts you in mind of Wreckless Eric and his punk contemporaries. Harking back to the ’70s with its simple, throbbing guitar and vocal combo, lead singer Tim Wheeler’s achingly enjoyable vocal arching perfectly against the mess of instrumental backing that pervades the song. Meanwhile, tracks like “Palace of Excess” and “You Can’t Have It All” are similarly enjoyable romps of songs. Album title track “Twilight of the Innocents” is a particular pleasure, rising from a soft opening into a crescendo of violent, gorgeously harmonised, deliciously sizzling vocals, guitars, drums and the suchlike.

This polyphony is a sense that definitely pervades the majority of the album. It’s incredibly hard to stop yourself from tapping along to catchy, bewilderingly great tracks like “Blacklisted”, “Princess Six“ and “Ritual”. Meanwhile, for those who prefer something a little bit more chilled out, songs like “Polaris” are still full of enough melodic lines to create beautiful noises without reducing you to listening to dull acoustic sing-a-long moments. At the same time, there are still a few clunkers, such as the Green Day miasma of a song that is the wailing “End of the World” or the underwhelming “Shadows”, but on the whole the band have done rather well for themselves here.

After listening through to this album, it actually seems rather a pity that Ash won’t be releasing anything more than the occasional single. It’s a delicious, wonderful piece of musicianship the like of which is rarely heard.

Rating: 5/5