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Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: The eighth full-length release for the Northern Ireland trio was produced by the band's frontman, Tim Wheeler.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Jun 6, 2018
    80
    This is a slick, confident, emotionally mature and balanced album, crammed with zingers, from a band who know their territory like the back of their hands.
  2. Kerrang!
    May 17, 2018
    80
    A deft and skillful trio, here songs such as the effervescent Annabel, the spacious and confident It's A Trap and the irrepressible, bouncing Buzzkill make this point with insouciant ease. [19 May 2018, p.55]
  3. 80
    Right now, though, they’ve rediscovered themselves, and there’s no reason why a new audience can’t discover them.
  4. May 21, 2018
    70
    The music is moody and atmospheric, the lyrics an attempt to compromise regret over the past with hope for the future.
  5. Jun 6, 2018
    70
    Islands--cool, catchy, and a whole lot of fun--has them back on form.
  6. Q Magazine
    May 17, 2018
    60
    It's sweetly out of step with prevailing pop trends, but it will certainly strike a chord with anyone who has ever had their heart broken. [Jul 2018, p.108]
  7. Jul 17, 2018
    60
    Tim Wheeler--who produced the record on his own--is as much a craftsman as a songwriter, hammering out melodies and riffs, and his resulting tunes aren't fashionable, but they are sturdy.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Jun 7, 2018
    9
    This album requires a few listens. Upon first listen it might come across as quite middle of the park. If you delve a bit deeper it's actuallyThis album requires a few listens. Upon first listen it might come across as quite middle of the park. If you delve a bit deeper it's actually a really good album. Some tracks are a little on the cheesy side and ash fans of old may be disappointed by some tracks which are driven by synth rather than power chords and catchy guitar melodies. It's like Tim Wheeler has looked to include a broader spectrum of his influences. They got the undertones involved in backing vocals for Buzzkill. Anyone that has followed Tim Wheeler with his solo material and recent ash material will recognise that this album covers his whole career, you can find a song from every era. The guitar work on this album in places is definitely some of the best he has done especially in the latter parts of the album. Did you love burn out? being a good example, showing lead guitar with good tone and feel, not too flashy but fits the song very well. My only criticism is that the album is quite diverse in places it almost feels like 3 different albums merged into one, and intro, middle and an end. I think it starts off and ends well though. It's not perfect, and I am not sure if this music has a place in the mainstream anymore but I don't care as I like it and I am sure many other fans of Ash will. Expand
  2. May 22, 2018
    8
    Ash are a great band and probably a bit underrated. They've never been innovative or ground breaking they just write great songs mixingAsh are a great band and probably a bit underrated. They've never been innovative or ground breaking they just write great songs mixing perfect pop hooks with a heavy punk/rock edge. They're also very prolific and consistent - over 25 years in the business and I don't think they've done a bad album. Islands is another one full of great songs and again nothing ground breaking but in todays dreary musical landscape it actually has a freshness and oomph about it. Expand
  3. Jul 6, 2018
    8
    The hook factory that is Tim Wheeler returns with Ash 23 years after their debut with "Islands", an album up with their best work. I haveThe hook factory that is Tim Wheeler returns with Ash 23 years after their debut with "Islands", an album up with their best work. I have always regarded Wheeler as an incredible pop song writer and his ability to come up with an earworm consistently is up their with the very best. In another time this album would have been as big as their commercial peaks "1977" and "Free All Angels". There are certainly as many potential singles on "Islands" and while there may be no all time classics like "Girl From Mars" or "Shining Light" here there is an abundance of brilliant material. Strangely, the album starts off slowly with opening pair "True Story" and "Annabel" two of the weakest tracks on the album. These are standard enough before the cathartic "Buzzkill" blow you out of the water. This is followed by the excellent "Confessions in the Pool", a disco influenced groover and my favourite track from the album, the Ashtastic "All That I Have Left". "Somersault", "Is It True" and the also excellent "Silver Suit" are all songs that would all fit on the bands best albums. The second half of the album has some more reflective material akin to Wheelers solo album from a few years back which give "Islands" a nice balance. A punk pop masterpiece and one of my favourite of 2018 so far. Expand
  4. Jun 5, 2018
    1
    Just awful, I mean effectively they're half retired now, they know they're no longer chart botherers - so why so critical? I just foundJust awful, I mean effectively they're half retired now, they know they're no longer chart botherers - so why so critical? I just found 'Islands' a desperate attempt, poor Ash, now is not the time to copy Arcade Fire. They've made a stab at 'Everything Now' when really they should have just updated everything from back then. Feeble. Expand