Ash and the Matadors: An Evening Echo (1.11.11)

 |   |  1 min read

Ash and the Matadors: 88 Fires Again
Ash and the Matadors: An Evening Echo (1.11.11)

This band from southern New Zealand came to attention at Elsewhere with their ruggedly interesting EP The Mansion Tapes in 2010 at which time they earned the comment, "An EP as calling card, better will doubtless follow".

This is the debut album which follows.

But frankly, some of it is disappointing and rather shapeless (or familiar) guitar rock which must sound good on the night in a pub but doesn't quite scrub up on record. (Good Dog Bad Men sounds like three separate songs moulded together.)

Best among the 11 originals is the apocalyptic The Golden Age ("will you meet your maker, I hear he's coming") which rides appropriately gritty guitars and doom laden chords; the knees-up thrash of the wordy Jetpack Blues which doubtless goes down a treat live; and O' Brother where singer-writer Ash Officer takes a more reflective look at the good times ("I'm just on the wrong side of my youth, I'm a cynical man with the cold hard truth . . . I'd trade all my one night stands for a darling piece of romance"). The latter also comes with a guitar part which takes off in the closing overs.

The Irish lament Bells is an interesting one because it seems -- seems -- to sympathise with the Black and Tans, and Orange Parade marchers -- a sentiment rare among more popular Irish songs which almost invariably side with the Republican cause.

But over the full running time this is an album of moments rather than a fully persuasive document. Officer is an interesting writer (who sometimes needs an editor as on the streetwise punk-metal Love in the New Decade) and at his best (O' Brother, Story by Georgia) when he steps back and looks at life with a hard gaze . . . and finds it wanting.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Dolly Parton: Live and Well (Sugar Hill)

Dolly Parton: Live and Well (Sugar Hill)

The dinner was going well until someone said they didn't like country music, and someone said they didn't mind it. Then we tried to define our terms. Was Shania Twain country? Nope, she's a... > Read more

Laura Cantrell: No Way There From Here (Thrift Shop/Southbound)

Laura Cantrell: No Way There From Here (Thrift Shop/Southbound)

Cantrell is emblematic of what “country” can mean today. Nashville-born (where she hosted an oldtime music radio show), she studied law and accountancy in New York which is... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

A WALK OF ART IN SYDNEY: Art and about in Australia

A WALK OF ART IN SYDNEY: Art and about in Australia

We know Sydney is for shopping. But it's also a city where you can take a walk of art and come away excited, impressed, perhaps bewildered and always stimulated. So here are some suggestions for... > Read more

Various Artists: A New Day; The Laya Project Remixed (EarthSync)

Various Artists: A New Day; The Laya Project Remixed (EarthSync)

In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami which swept across large tracts of Asia, music producer Patrick Sebag and others visited the regions to record and film local musicians. This became the... > Read more