‘Forgotten?!’ you remark with a suspciously raised eyebrow? Well, the dominance of the over-familiar singles, Shining Light and Burn Baby Burn make it so easy to forget how good the rest of the album actually is. A sweet pop gem! Ingredients including delicately balanced guitars deliver some memorable melodies and superb moments of songwriting have given us choruses we’re still singing 10 years later. But by far, the tastiest ingredient of them all is… Charlotte Hatherley.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to rebrand as Shak’s Sex #Shlogg. I’m talking more than anything about Hatherley’s backing vocals. I truly believe they are the sole reason that elevate this from a good, to a great album. She has sprinkled so many moments of magic over Free All Angels, starting with the opening track, when she echoes ‘Yeah we’ve been walking barefoot all summer’. To be honest I always thought Shining Light was just OK, until I played it on my show one night and it got stuck in my head. The next day, I realised I was singing Hatherley’s harmonies on the chorus, not the actual chorus! My absolute favourite song from the album is Sometimes.
As a bonus though and much to my surprise, it soon transpired that the whole album was just a taster – it all led up to the creamiest, most delicious icing on any cake you’ve ever tasted. And that was the final b-side to the final single from the album – There’s A Star. The song in question is Grey Will Fade – written and sung by Hatherley, I think her third songwriting credit in Ash. I know it’s not strictly from the album but it’s the whole era isn’t it? It really is dreamy stuff:
If you like that, go and listen to Sometimes afterwards!