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This is the 23rd 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.

If there’s one thing Tim Wheeler is most noted for, it would be his guitar skills, and so it makes sense that Ash has been inspiring musicians with their guitar-orientated tracks (“Burn Baby Burn” in particular) more than any others. The band’s newest track serves to feed that hunger.

Well, “Embers” is that fast-paced splendor of guitar euphoria you’ve been waiting for, and it was well worth the wait! Everything about this track is straightforward and downright enjoyable as it skirts the edges of punk pop, and solidifies a quote said by our previous guest, Ollie Ship: “Tim Wheeler is the only person who can play a flying v without looking like a dick”

To cover the band’s single for the letter W, we decided to do another joint piece. This time around we obtained the thoughts of Ash fans Graham Pancott and Michael Chernucha on The A-Z Series, and asked them to tell their stories of how they got into the band. (NOTE: Single X is called Change Your Name and was released earlier this week, be sure to check it out!)

[audio:http://randomville.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Ash-Embers.mp3|titles=Ash – Embers]

GRAHAM

Hello, my name is Graham (MuseAsh on the forum), and Ash are my all time favorite band, having been a huge fan since the heady days of the 1977 singles. My first experience with Ash was when a friend lent me a taped copy of Oasis’s What’s the Story Morning Glory and to fill up the leftover space at the end, had also added “Girl From Mars” to the running order. Oasis were creating big waves in the UK at that time, but it was the shredding guitar solos of GFM that really stuck with me.

I first saw Ash live at Southampton Guildhall on the 1977 tour, a tour that also saw Bis and 60 ft Dolls supporting…you don’t get line-ups like that these days! Since then, I’ve stuck with Ash through thick and thin. They’ve been with me as man and boy, through school, college and university, through my bachelor days and now into married life and fatherhood. Without exception, they’ve always been the band to excite, uplift and inspire me and I think the consistently high caliber of the songwriting shows Tim Wheeler as the special talent that he is.

One of the other special things about Ash is the level of engagement with the fan base and the ‘experience’ which they create for the fans, beyond purely writing and recording music. From my perspective, in the last 15 years I have seen many great Ash gigs and plenty of cash splashed on rare vinyl, promo CDs and other merch, all of which will be much cherished for the rest of my days!

As for “Embers”, this particular song seems to have garnered a really positive reaction from most boarders. There’s something quite raw and primal about the structure of the song, with the guitar parts, in particular, being pretty extravagant and euphoric. “Joy Kicks Darkness” has consistently been my favorite song of the series and one of the reasons I love it so much is the epic guitar burnout over the last couple of minutes. For me, Ash are at their best when their songs are loud, brash and euphoric, and when Tim is churning out riffs at a rate of knots! “Embers” seems to embody these qualities, which is why I think it has proved to be popular.

Photo by Ollie Ship

Having said that, I’ve really enjoyed the variety of The A-Z series and have even enjoyed the songs with an electro vibe as much as those with a more ‘classic’ Ash imprint. For me, “Binary” is a high class, infectious pop song and was a great choice as a single, and “Instinct” was a song with a similar ethos which is also one of my favorites. I’m also intrigued by how the bonus tracks have been received by the fans. Without exception, someone will make a statement about how ‘such and such’ bonus track is the best thing Ash have done this year and that it should have been in the main running order. I guess there most be something about supporting the underdog that brings people to that sort of conclusion, but for me Ash have pretty much got it right with the main body of work. Only “CTRL_ALT_DEL” and “Replicants” have scaled the same heights as the main releases for me.

As a longtime Ash fan used to large gaps between albums, I’m so grateful for the volume of new material we’ve received over such a short space of time (by the end of the year us fans will have received 48 tracks!). No doubt we’ll look back at this period in years to come and realize that The A-Z Series has been one of the ‘Golden Ages’ to be part of the Ash community. So big thanks to Tim, Mark, Rick and to Jedisteve and everyone else who’s made this happen. Its been an emotional ride.

Yours truly,

Graham Pancott

MIKE

I am Mike, and go by the name of chinny on the Ash messageboard, I live in a sleepy old village in Lincolnshire, or better known as the middle of nowhere.

I got into Ash the summer of 2001, seems like yesterday. I must admit, originally I didn’t like them at first. I’d previously been sheltered to this modern “pop music” contraption, where Top Of The Pops and Radio1 breakfast show were my only main exposure to music. Then a friend of a friend of mine mentioned a song called “Girl From Mars”, a gasp I’d never heard of it exclaiming in her own words that “it’s the tits!”

Then came 2001 and “Burn Baby Burn” appeared on the scene and piqued my interest. I quickly set about buying Free All Angels and 1977 and my love for the band made like the proverbial snowball, gaining with every listen is why I’ve stuck with them ever since. Eagerly anticipating every new album (skipping uni on the release day of Meltdown and following the snippets of information and studio video blogs in the run up to Twilight Of The Innocents) my dedication and love of the band has manifested itself in not one but two ash-related tattoos.

In terms of A-Z I thinks its fair to say the decision to go solely digital was a bold and ballsy move but if you were to propose the project to any other band, no-one would be able to pull off such an ambitious and monumental task, let alone excel at it!. The band have admitted themselves their strength was and still is their singles, and every song released on A-Z has equaled or bettered the previous song.

“Embers” is more in the direction that I love the band to move to, pop punk, something they proved themselves with the Free All Angels and Trailer albums. “The Dead Disciples and the bonus track “Gallows Hill” have been particular favorites of mine and “Embers” is right up my street, an awesome fast paced anthem, which I can’t wait to hear live!

Forever a fan
Chinny

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