Ash Gray And The Girls - Born In The Summer
Born in the Summer is one of those pieces of work which is would be hard to dislike. You'd have to be a pretty sour individual to find anything objectional in this bright sunshine pop. The album cover says it all. This is music which is going to remind you of the sixties, although it may be an over-idyllic view of the sixties, who cares. The lettering is just like so many albums from the era, as is the picture. Never, I suspect have one guy and a group of girls had so much fun together and kept all their clothes on.
"Purple and Gold" starts off with a weird Indian style sitar or something similar and immediately puts you off - until the music actually starts - and then you discover it is not what you thought it was. Thankfully, the dawning impression as the song unfolds is a positive one. Pretty soon it becomes clear that Ash Gray really does have a band comprising girls only (something confirmed by the band's website). Close female harmonies provide the backing to some cheery and catchy melodies.
The title track is one which will get even the most jaded tapping the feet. Co-incidentally it probably has the most retro feel to it - shimmering tambourines, "hey-ho" backing vocals and namechecking the summer of love. Even the production of the track is something which has echoes of those halcyon days. Perhaps if Lennon and McCartney had listened to Ash Gray and the Girls the Beatles wouldn't have broken up.
"The Only Woman on Earth" is perhaps the best song on the album. A wonderful quasi-Motown sounding song with the Girls doing a Supremes style backing vocal. And yet the next track, "The Hottest Chick Around", is something completely different - a much more rock-oriented track which reminds me of some of the Big Brother and the Holding Company stuff, especially the guitar which really has some good licks, and even a guitar solo. And just so that you don't get the impression that was a one off, "Cecil" which follows it is pretty much in the same vein. Then along comes "Apple Eye" with is much more acoustic feel to it where the piano is more prominent.
What Ash Gray and the Girls have done is release an album which manages to be, at the same time, a look back at the sixties, and an album for the year 2012. Just when you think it might start to get predictable, it throws you a surprise. Who else would have ended their album with a cover of the Hollies' "Bus Stop"? And you may even find that the sound of the original is replicated, and yet not replicated. You know, Ash Gray and the Girls just might be onto something.
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