By: Eric Greenwood
Yikes. Bad techno schlock from former guitar genius confirms that Daniel Ash can't make a decent solo album to save his life. This is just terribly embarrassing. Cheesy, decade-old techno beats? What is Ash thinking? He proved he could at least pretend to hang with the underground electronic experimentalists on Love And Rockets' two far-underrated albums, Hot Trip To Heaven and Lift, respectively, but this self-titled third solo album from the former Bauhaus/Tones On Tail/Love And Rockets guitarist is a major disappointment. Ash just simply fails to use his God-given talents- you know, things like songwriting skills and vocal melodies.
Is he too coked up to strike a memorable chord? Surely, he's given up the drugs by now. You can't do coke for twenty years, can you? I'd imagine he's drinking wheat germ and taking yoga classes at this point. Maybe, that's the problem. If so, let's get back on the drugs, pronto. Songs like "Hollywood Fix" and "The Money Song" aren't going to resuscitate anyone's career. The former bounces along like a C+C Music Factory outtake from 1989 while Ash mumbles "I'll build you up/to feed your pain." I know I don't have to tell you how bad that sounds. Try seven minutes of it. The latter song incorporates Pink Floyd's "Money" riff into a reverb-drenched mess with some Hollywood slut whispering "money" over electronic bongos. This has to be a bad joke. Where's the real album, Daniel?
Oh, you're still here. It really doesn't get much better, but since you're obviously a glutton for punishment, I'll go on. "Mastermind" tries to be seductive with ghostly keyboards and Ash's ominous repetition of the word "mastermind", but the European house diva disco beat tends to curb any enjoyment, unless you're the type that gets off on body glitter and pacifiers. "Come Alive" seems to have the same bad beat, but Ash speeds it up a notch and adds some noise. He yells "God Is Dead" over the repetitive dance mix while his wah-wah guitar fights for some attention. Wow, God is dead, eh? That's some heavy stuff, man. Nothing Einsturzende Neubauten didn't say fifteen years ago, though. It's pretty much unlistenable tripe, cementing this album's status as one of the worst of the year, so far.
"Ghost Writer" unfurls like an actual song instead of some bad club remix. Ash's recognizable drawl floats over the dated synths and wiry bassline. It's a step up, for sure, but far from what you'd expect from a man who was involved with what are arguably some of the best albums of the 1980's. "Kid 2000" tries to be creepy with Ash's nephew reading some garble about the future, but it sounds like a go-nowhere, half-assed fragment, despite Ash's bluesy guitar licks making a rare appearance.
It would have been easy enough to cash in on the success of the Bauhaus reunion tour with a new album or even another tour, but Ash and his bandmates didn't want to taint their own legend- too much. Completely abandoning your roots is another problem altogether. Ash just doesn't have the chops to compete with the current crop of electronic musicians. He's an amazing guitarist, but he practically ignores the instrument here in favor of boring, repetitive, and uninventive electronic meanderings. Avoid at all costs.