I was going to highlight a different album from my shelf, until I discovered that Meltdown was released exactly 11 years ago today, on 17 May 2004.
This is one of my favourite (if not my favourite) Ash albums. I had not heard it in full until I got it about a month ago when I rediscovered the band. I had heard the singles ‘Orpheus’ and ‘Starcrossed’, and I had always loved ‘Orpheus’ in particular when it was on the radio, but for some reason never bought the album. Now I have and I love it. I mean, really love it. I just get a kick out of the energy of this record. It’s fairly loud, but still manages to sound like that summery brand of pop rock that feels so synonymous with Ash for me.
I trawled through some reviews on the interweb, and they are incredibly varied. I like reading reviews. They are simply opinions, but it is amazing how much stock people put in them. One day I should amuse myself by collecting ridiculous quotes from reviews. Anyway, getting back to Meltdown. Some reviewers thought the album was a step back from 2001’s Free All Angels, some really liked it. Quite a few reviewers seemed to think it was too heavy sounding for Ash and that they should stick to poppy ballads. That amused me for a start, because is that grungy, punky sound not where Ash came from to start with? I think I actually prefer this album to Free All Angels, which almost feels a bit too…clean to me. What I like about Ash is that no two albums sound quite the same, but they all sound like Ash.
Meltdown opens very strongly with the title track, ‘Orpheus’, ‘Evil Eye’ and ‘Clones’, all songs I absolutely love. ‘Starcrossed’ follows, a soppy ballad that somehow manages to sit comfortably between the noise. Although the second half is not quite as strong, it never flags and still offers stellar tunes like ‘Renegade Cavalcade’, ‘Won’t Be Saved’ and the song that reminds me of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (showing my age…) ‘Vampire Love’.
All in all this is a very strong album with no dud songs. It’s a fantastic driving record by the way, but be warned, because Meltdown is a speeding hazard!
One word to describe this record: Rock!
Play it when… Driving
Songs you need to hear: Meltdown, Orpheus, Clones