privacy of their own bedrooms. Music that smiles like a blue-sky day and reeks of teenage hormones going berserk on a diet of late-night parties. Music that gets you noticed.

Ash swiftly signed to the Infectious label and started picking tip airplay on Radio l with the riff-soaked single ‘Jack Names The Planets“. They quickly followed it tip with ‘Petrol‘ and then in l‘)‘)4. while still at school. released Trailer. a s‘ey‘en-track mini l.l’ that proudly bore the legend ‘(iuaranteed Real 'l’eenagers' on its sleeve. Bristling with energy and crunching guitars yet underpinned with a delicate pop sensibility. Trailer appealed to the kids because it spoke their language. The line. loss and confusion of adolescence seeped from its pores and touched a string with teenage listeners. It also pulled in older fans who had grown tip on the unpolished Vitality of the punk wars. hearing in Ash‘s music echoes of their youth.

While gainfully misspending their youth. Ash haye not had the typical experiences of their peers. Last year was spent touring the world. going from liurope to .lapan y'ia lceland. before playing to thousands on the Hound in Edinburgh as part of the city‘s llogmanay celebrations. ‘I really loy'e .\'ew York and Iceland because they’re so Hamilton. ‘liut .lapan is too hard to get into. it's so hi/arrc. It was as if we were Take That when we were out there. It‘s too mad. I loy‘e just standing around towns. shopping on your own. If you‘re getting chased by hundreds of people it‘s a hit of a nightmare.’

Not that they haye any regrets. ‘\\'e still Me at home. but w e’re ncy'cr there anyway.~ cackles Hamilton before going on to detail a day in the life of a touring hand. ‘Wake up with a hangoy‘er. get to the Venue. you do press and promotion all day. soundchcck. get something to eat. start drinking at about six o'clock and then depending what your stamina is like you stay up all night until about . . . wheneycr. l’arty after the and then you do the satne thing the next day.‘

liy'en with the benefit of youth on their side. eycess still takes its toll on .-\sh. Hamilton spent liehruary NUS in intensiy‘c care and .\lc.\lurray has lust gone home for a week to deto\. ‘lle‘s fucking serious I'm worried about him.‘ laughs Hamilton. shrugging off the dangers of hard liy'ing with a happy go-lucky belief in the immortality ofyouth.

Despite their tender years and insatiable appetite for partying. .'\.sll haye remarkably mature. if hungoy'er. heads on their shoulders. 'l'hey did not sign for a masstye adyanee which


weird.‘ says

could hay e saddled them with crippling dehts

for years. and they seem unfa/ed by the si/e of

their \llCL‘C\\. :\L‘L‘tll‘tllltg [H \ltll‘lx. the Hill} little he has been scared playing in front of an audience was the first time the hand played in front of their school peers.

W7" also displays a maturing sense of the songwriters’s craft. Recorded oy er two months at Rockfield Studios in \Valcs using ()wen .\lorris the producer of ()asis‘s Ill/tal'y 'l'la' .SIUI'XI .lluriiatg (I/u/‘\‘.' the album contains ‘(iirl lirom .\lars'. ‘Ktmg liu' and ‘;\nch Interceptor". the three singles that put :\\ll into the lop 'l‘wcnty last year. Yet. apart from the singles. the hand only went itito the studio with four finished songs and of them only lose (‘ontrol' and the current single '(ioldfinger‘ made it onto the finished album.

'\\'e did lots of songs we didn‘t think were tip to scratch and we just scrapped them.‘ says Hamilton. "l‘hat stuff was as if we were in the

same period as Trailer. we‘d haye done them if

we thought they were good enough. We were

‘We don’t like all this back-slapping band bullshit. We’re only mates with bands that we tour with and that we can get to know properly.’

trying to get really good melodies that people would like and then doing them in all different styles. We were just try ing to lift it a leycl.' l.cst this sounds as though :\.\ll hay c suddenly gone all chin-stroking muso on its and lost their y'itality. [077 contains Hamilton's first steps into songwriting. a duty usuall)‘ resery‘ed for Wheeler. 'lnnoeent Smile' is a heay‘y' burst of sustained guitar screams with Wheeler's \‘oice fighting tooth and claw to

raw also

one of


gain mastery over the maelstrom. Fans will be pleased to hear it contains no great concepts or the half-baked philosophies bands sometimes indulge themselves in. ‘lt's about Downpatriek and when you're young and just going out and y'andalis‘ing ‘cos you‘ve got nothing else to d0.‘ cackles Hamilton mischievously.

With their feet still firmly rooted in the ground that spawned them. it‘s tempting to ponder whether Ash‘s heads are turned by the stars. Hamilton has been to see Sonic Youth for the last two nights and is going again tonight. Has he used his new-found celebrity to get to meet them'.’

'()h no. I can't. 'l‘hey're idols.‘ he explains. horrified at the thought ofjoining the backstage showbiz circus. ‘We don‘t like all this l);lCl\'.\‘lil[3plllg band bullshit. We‘re only mates with hands that we tour with and that we can get to know pr‘opcrly'.‘

xix/i play Barrow/and. Glasgow on Tuesday 28


Ash (left to right): Mark Hamilton, Tim Wheeler and Rick McMurray

'lihe ITfit) .\lay 19%13