‘And with Hardship Starship, that fanbase is going to blow up. ‘
No Hot Ashes, a four piece from Stockport, might not yet be a household name — but give them time. They’ve been touring up and down the country almost non-stop, most recently with a headline slot at Thousand Island in London, wowing audiences with their energetic, sweat-ridden performances, exuding energy and passion onto their loyal and steadily growing fanbase. And with Hardship Starship, that fanbase is going to blow up.
‘the album is great fun from start to finish.’
The album, to put it simply, is fun. It’s chilled out and mellow, spreading euphoria across the galaxy with its infectiously nebulous riffs and sunny, uplifting vocals. Launching off with latest single Extra Terrestrial, an enjoyable jolt of excitement which sets the scene for the rest of the album — from the impossible-not-to-dance-to Car or the earworm that is Hey Casanova, to the down-to-Earth, near spoken-word ISH-KA. The album is great fun from start to finish.
Not to imply that the album is simply just a nice drop of lighthearted and wholesome content to make you feel good. It manages to blend the surreal, alien feeling of smiling (this is England after all) with a healthy blend of indie dance-music and almost punk-inspired vocals, as well as poignant, political interspersions, such as ponderings on Brexit, capitalism, violent crime and everything else slowly turning society into a dystopian future.
‘a debut album that’s cohesive, as well as a unique offering’
However, the album struggles at times to separate each song into unique entities; they all possess that same infectious undertone with Issac Taylor’s husky, indelicate vocals sprinkled over the top. It’s a good recipe and stock to build from; it’s just resulted in eleven songs of the same sort of make-up: different consistencies and different bells and whistles but ultimately the same flavour — which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s resulted in a debut album that’s cohesive, following a theme, as well as being a unique offering; a hard task for veteran bands, let alone the debut album of a new one! With that, though, it’s resulted in an album in which all eleven songs which can at times feel samey and thus some stand out are unavoidably edged out and outshone.
In essence, Hardship Starship is a great debut album. Some of the songs will undoubtedly grow into anthemic supergiants and spread across the galaxy — and the airwaves — but one or two that are doomed to be left behind, just superheated gas with no substance.
Hardship Starship offers a guaranteed good time, but only time will tell if it’s anything more than that.