Orange / Black Splatter Vinyl
Leaving behind the power-pop leanings of their previous albums, frontman Tim Wheeler and his bandmates crank it up to 11 right from the opening riffs of the title track. This is the sound of a band who have spent a lot of time listening to the Smashing Pumpkins, particularly Siamese Dream, and it shows on tracks such as Orpheus and Out of the Blue. Wisely, though, they've kept the self-indulgence at bay - Meltdown is the sound of a band having fun, and its energy is often infectious. Even Wheeler's voice, often the band's weak point, is improved by the well-placed harmonies of guitarist Charlotte Hatherley. Best of all, though, is drummer Rick McMurray, who sounds like he's grown an extra set of arms since recording their last album - the rocking Clones would be half the song without his relentless beats. Meltdown is easily Ash's best album since 1977; this is the sound of a band becoming interesting again.