This is the 21st of 26 exclusive reviews of the A-Z Series by Northern Irish band Ash. Type “Ash” or “A to Z series” into our search engine to find our other articles on this topic.
It’s incredible that we can forget how layered a three minute track can be. Even with a catchy tone and silk-like fluidity, there is a lot of instances in which if you were to de-construct a track, some of its pieces would seem unfamiliar to the other. Yet combined it all works!
A great example of this is the latest A-Z single by Ash, “Summer Snow.” The title itself finds a way of making an oxymoron feel right. Opening with light guitars allows the verses to course in with Tim Wheeler sporting a more monotonic voice; thankfully his charm is never compromised by doing this. The part that truly wows is the chorus which isn’t built up by the verses yet still feels rightfully placed. Wheeler’s vocals are commanding and slightly resentful during the chorus and Mark Hamilton’s hefty bassline never clashes with the pinging synths; heck the synths are so well underused that it wouldn’t be surprising if one were to confuse this with a purely guitar driven track.
Listen to “Summer Snow” here: [audio:http://randomville.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Ash-Summer-Snow.mp3|titles=Ash — Summer Snow]
Fans are considering “Summer Snow” a grand highlight of The A-Z Series, and with the frosty rendition of guitars/vocals and the neat/rough/and overall natural progression that the track’s production provides, it’s no wonder why this is a standout from the series.
Our guest for this singles coverage is long time Ash fan and Manchester native Nicole Paraskeva.
Randomville: What are some thoughts that come to your head when you listen to “Summer Snow?”
Nicole Paraskeva: A snowy day with a bright blue sky, everything seems peaceful and quiet. Then later on the sun comes out and melts all the snow; just like the song, the verses are relaxing and peaceful then the chorus kicks in which is pretty loud.
Nicole Paraskeva: “Summer Snow” really stood out for me in the teaser clip because of the chorus. It’s big and out there; I was like “Wow this song is going to be awesome.” Although I did have to wait quite a bit for it to be released, this led me to believe that the band scrapped it or was just going to use it as a bonus track. But the preview of Single U came and it was the song I’ve been waiting for since the teaser clip was released! First listen and I just loved it; it’s up their in my favorite Ash tracks of all time!
Randomville: What track and/or moment from A-Z has left an impact on you?
Nicole Paraskeva: Getting new songs every two weeks for a year and all the free bonuses we get has left a very positive impact on me. The track I would say has wowed me the most would be “The Dead Disciples.”
Randomville: Do you like the fact that the remaining A-Z track titles have been released, along with the song previews?
Nicole Paraskeva: Yeah it gets you quite excited for what’s coming next. With the titles you can discuss how the song is going to be like; for example if the upcoming track will be a pop song or a rock song or maybe a punk song. What amazes me the most is how the previews can sometimes be bland yet the tracks themselves do their own justice.
Randomville: Which track that hasn’t been released yet are you most excited about hearing?
Nicole Paraskeva: “Embers” (Single W). It sounds great from the preview! You can tell it’ll be a great punk track to rival “The Dead Disciples!”
Randomville: The A-Z Series has been an innovative way of releasing music and even resembles the way podcasts are distributed. Would this be something you’d like to see other artists adopt? And if so, why or why not?
Nicole Paraskeva: Yeah I think it’s a great way of getting music out there because it’s something different /new but still finds a way to make a fan feel comfortable and involved. I could see why Ash wanted to make a change and didn’t want to release albums anymore. I was amazed how they made the A-Z Series work and how they wanted to release music. A-Z is a new step to take and I’m sure other artists and bands will follow in some way, shape or form.
Randomville: Do you feel Ash influenced the taste you have in music and have a hand in the bands you get into?
Nicole Paraskeva: Yeah Ash made me explore with more music; before Ash I just stayed with the charts music and didn’t really explore much. Then after getting into Ash I wanted to listen to more music and get into more bands. With the bands I like today, all have a similar genre with Ash. Without Ash I wouldn’t have gotten into bands like White Light Parade, Panama Kings and The Parlotones.
Randomville: What would you like to see the band do after A-Z and believe would be the best course of action?
Nicole Paraskeva: Maybe something similar, like go up in numbers? I think someone said a periodic table! That would be cool. Whatever Ash do next, I’m sure I’ll be happy with it.
Randomville: Do you feel Russell Lissack would make a good member of Ash if he were to become a permanent member?
Nicole Paraskeva: I think Russell is great and has contributed to Ash really well. I’d be happy for Russell to become a permanent and I’m sure other Ash fans would be too.
Randomville: Ash fans have an incredible resource known as Ash Files. Do you have a favorite bootleg from that website? And why is it your favorite?
Nicole Paraskeva: My favorite bootleg is of the gig at Black Cat in Washington D.C. The gig can be found in the Meltdown era section of the website and it is my favorite show because of the great setlist and response from the crowd.
Randomville: Throughout the course of being an Ash fan, what do you feel has been the most rewarding about it?
Nicole Paraskeva: The music and the great gigs they put on. Also how Ash treats their fans really makes me glad to be an Ash Fan.
Also speaking of Manchester, be sure to check out Ash’s gig from the Manchester o2 Academy, which is entirely streaming on Youtube.
For audio of the show to download be sure to head over to Ash Files, register, and look at The A-Z Era section!