Ash - Intergalactic Sonic 7"s & Cosmic Debris (Homegrown/Sony)

It's that bloody Ash photo again

After falling in love with Dinosaur Jr it was particularly hard to take when, after a spectacularly shite display fuelled by arrogance and incompetence at the Reading Festival, I realised with sinking heart and muddy boots that their best was behind them.

A few years later, after largely coming to terms with my loss, imagine the feeling when 'Girl From Mars' came spurting forth from the John Peel show like the holy offspring of J Mascis and Wonderwoman. Was the great man back to his best?

Alas, it was not to be, but hey ho - Ash had been introduced to my world and I've never looked back. What's better, their shows are more frequent on these shores and (normally) cheaper to get into, so who's complaining? Not I (for a change).

I'm not even a 'proper' fan (bring it on, indie fascists). I didn't own a single album until now, nor a limited 7" or a hip, fast-fading T-shirt, but fuck you - I love 'em just as much as you do.

Ash write fantastic, guitar-fuelled pop songs with enough catchy hooks to keep the most disco-hardened alternative fop groovin' for a good hour or two, and this near-faultless compilation proves it.

Some of you sad Ash purists will surely find something to moan about, but this isn't really for you, is it? The 'best of' has always been a cash-in but what of it? It's the equivalent of the carriage clock for loyal service, and few have put in more worthwhile hours through the largely duff nineties than this lot.

What they have done is make it a nice thing, too. Two CDs with over two hours of music make it great value and, being chock full of B-sides, it's a nice addition for those who've got some/most of the singles but not everything. The booklet has a nice little band history in it, as well as lyrics and singles cover art, so thumbs up in that department too. Not enough pics of a certain Ms Charlotte, but could there ever be? Phwoar…

So, you get all the 'hits' (Girl From Mars, Kung Fu, A Life Less Ordinary, Oh Yeah, Shining Light etc etc, loads of B-sides (from the bed-wettingly good to the mind-numbingly average), pretty pictures and, er, well, that's about it. Good eh?

Chris Marling