Darker, moodier, more serious, Ash have grown up. And Tim Wheeler's even got a new tattoo and a gnarly beard to prove it. However this apparent transformation is only partly revealed by Orpheus, the first single from the forthcoming album, Meltdown.
A cacophonous intro of bass, drums and growling, overdriven guitar - Orpheus begins promisingly. But just as you're thinking that you could get into this - and that you never knew that Ash could be so visceral, so aggressive - Wheeler's voice joins the fray and the saccharine pop hooks are back. The song alternates between indie-pop and heavy rock, never finding a happy medium. Striving to be both a summer anthem and a balls-to-the-wall eardrum buster, it loses coherency.
Ash appear to be unable to make up their minds: desperate to evolve as a band, but too careful to take a completely new direction. The result is terribly muddled. Far from their best.