The Ashes - Smashed!
Wow, what an amazing, heretofore undiscovered classic this is!
The Ashes were the UK duo of Bob Kelly and Trev R. Wingate, who specialized in power pop done the old fashioned way; Smashed! is filled with oodles of hooks, harmonies, and repeated choruses that won't leave your head no matter how hard you try to get rid of them, along with a dollop of pub leanings that give the sound an edgy, British flavor.
Every cut on Smashed! is as infectious as a child with the measles, and Kelly's vibrato-flecked lead vocals make the album wholly unique. Fans of the bright power pop stylings of Ed James and the thicker sound of Cast will especially love 'Broken Heart Token,' 'Wh-Where Were You?,' 'Jones!,' 'In One Ear,' and the pulsating 'New Toy.' The melancholic 'Unborn' as well as the sustained keyboards and yearning chorus of 'Thunderboots' are particularly emotive and powerful.
Smashed! was originally released in a very limited run in 1994, but fortunately Warmfuzz Records head and the album's producer, the venerable Ian Shaw, had the good taste to re-release it on his label. Contact Mr. Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about a copy of Smashed!, as well as several other fine albums on the Warmfuzz label, most notably Blunt Cut, the latest by Bob Kelly's current project, Kelly's Heels.
David Bash, Toast Magazine (www.toastmag.com)