If Avril Lavigne and her strip-mall punk peers hold any aspirations of career longevity, they would do well to pay attention to the musical trajectory of Irish rockers Ash. Beginning in the mid-'90s as a scruffy adolescent trio with a fondness for the Buzzcocks, Green Day and songs about "Hulk Hogan Bubblebath," Ash found its own mature voice with 2001's love-song-laden Free All Angels. Exquisite speed-limit busters like "Walking Barefoot" and "Burn Baby Burn" slash with white-hot riffs from dueling guitarists Charlotte Hatherly and Tim Wheeler, burning rubber in contrast to the smoldering lust of "Candy" and the grandiose strings on "Someday." Be sure to catch the band's first headlining tour of the States in five years (though the band did, in fact, top the bill at two Dallas shows last year, one for The Adventure Club's anniversary), for irresistible pop-punk sophistication and to snag an exclusive, U.S.-only EP containing live and acoustic versions of Angels songs.
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