No Hot Ashes are a band with a plan, and they make a roaring statement of intent with their debut album ‘Hardship Starship’. It’s a record that’s got the best of both worlds; professional maturity that lays the foundations for youthful glee to put a smile on your face.
The latest Stockport exports have put the hours in; every lyric and every bit of instrumentation contributes to a cohesive, well-oiled machine, and a record that makes complete sense is a wonderful thing.
‘Hardship Starship’ is pure escapism, combining the out-of-this-world with the ordinary. Everyday problems like money (‘Car’), politics (‘Indecision/Intermission’) and relationships (‘Extra Terrestrial’) are tackled thoughtfully on planet Earth before being blasted off into space- the continuing theme of the record.
Cheeky, chirpy guitar tones and vibrant synths give the record its distinctive flavour, but the songs are by the no means formulaic. NHA are undoubtedly ambitious, and they show off that confidence with a few experimental moments, most notably the rap track ‘ISH-KA’, which could easily have gone wrong but turns out being a stroke of brilliance.
It’s not all about the technical stuff though, it’s about the bangers too, and NHA know how to pen a catchy tune. I’ve already waxed lyrical about lead single ‘Extra Terrestrial’, and it’s now backed up by tracks like the ferocious ‘Trouble’ and the best song about asthma medication ever written in ‘Salbutamol’.
You can’t help but be excited by what No Hot Ashes are doing, and ‘Hardship Starship’ conveys something quite profound; it’s about looking at the world in the right light, and being optimistic at the same time as being realistic.
Away from the existential stuff though, it’s just bloody good fun as well. It’s singalong and dancealong all the way through with an electric energy that never shows any signs of slowing down.
There isn’t a bad word to say about ‘Hardship Starship’, not one nit to pick. The synth-led indie pop trend keeps going strong, and No Hot Ashes might well have brought out its defining album.