It's been almost 20 years since Ash broke out of sleepy Downpatrick, announcing their arrival on the Irish music scene with their debut single 'Uncle Pat' (via a Heineken commercial) and, for a while at least, it looked like they might go on to be one of the biggest musical acts this country ever produced. This never quite materialised. For all the promise of Ash's early career, it was never quite delivered upon and they never quite shook the tag of being the 'next big thing'. The Best of Ash is the best possible evidence of this career trajectory.
The 19 song collection begins with 'Girl From Mars', before moving on to 'Kung Fu' which gives way next to 'Angel Interceptor' and then 'Goldfinger'. And this is the problem. Ash's early career is loaded with their best material and this (mostly) chronological Best Of collection highlights that. By the time 'Burn Baby Burn', track nine, is over there isn't really much more to latch on to before the album ends.
But that's not to overlook some of these songs. 'Girl From Mars' is a fantastic song, endemic of the youthful exuberance which made Ash so appealing all those years ago. 'Kung Fu' is one of the best Irish punk songs, well, ever and 'A Life Less Ordinary' is a severely under-rated song, ranking amongst their best. It's just the latter half of the album harshly contrasts against the first, and nor is that to say that it's bad - it's just different and almost not the same band who explode to life in the first few songs.