September 4, 2006

Irish rockers Ash relocate to U.S. for new album

By Michael Paoletta

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Northern Irish rockers Ash have
swapped Guinness for Brooklyn lager and relocated to New York
to craft their fifth album, due next spring.

Frontman Tim Wheeler says the band -- now back to being an
all-male trio after the departure of guitarist Charlotte
Hatherley earlier this year -- spent so much time in the United
States promoting its last album, "Meltdown," that the members
decided they might as well live there.

Wheeler and bassist Mark Hamilton were as good as their
word, although drummer Rick McMurray commutes from his home in
Scotland. But that hasn't hampered recording. Wheeler has
already written nearly 30 new songs. A sampling indicates a
less metal, more melodic approach seems to have taken over the
band. There are also touches of psychedelia ("Shattered Glass")
and some Coldplay-esque piano on another as-yet-untitled jam.

Relations with Hatherley, who is currently recording her
second solo set, remain cordial to the point that Wheeler hopes
she will rejoin them on stage for future special occasions. "I
haven't played her any of the new stuff though," he says. "That
would be too much like seeing your ex-girlfriend."