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Coming Down

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Album Review

Flush from the success of Love and Rockets' self-titled album, specifically his hit performance of "So Alive," Ash used his extracurricular time well for his first full solo debut, recruiting a range of performers to help. Most notable would be longtime Bauhaus/Love and Rockets bandmate Kevin Haskins on many kinds of percussion, while the surprise contributor is Natacha Atlas, getting her first major exposure on an album and singing and playing instruments on just about every track. Her excellent vocals here sound nothing like her Arabic-language work most listeners will be familiar with, and she provides a perfect counterpoint to Ash's dry Bolanesque purr. No less than three of the 12 songs are covers, including the old standards "Blue Moon" and "Me and My Shadow," while a fourth, the funky samba vibe "Walk This Way," has nothing to do with Aerosmith but shares a cowriting credit with Tito Puente. It turned out that the rhythm uncannily sounded like Santana's version of "Oye Como Va," so putting Puente's name down before release was a smart move. The dark blue and black of the album cover photo shots captures the feeling of Coming Down nicely, with the disc often occupying a zone somewhere between the Jesus and Mary Chain's monster pop-thrash and Julee Cruise's avant-garde '50s-isms. The title track appears in two versions that fit each of those descriptions perfectly, while others blend the elements to one extent or another. The cover of the Beatles' "Day Tripper" starts with a spare bass/drum combination and whispered vocals before the guitars crash in near the end, while Ash projects a near-perfect cool on the spare R&B of "Sweet Little Liar" and the wash of synths and echo carrying "Not So Fast." Varied, entertaining and unexpected, Coming Down is a dark delight of an album by a consistently underrated singer and performer.


Born: 31 July 1957 in Northampton, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A founding member of the groundbreaking Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, and Love and Rockets, guitarist, singer, and songwriter Daniel Ash distinguished himself in the world of alternative rock during the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. Ash was born in Northampton, England, on July 31, 1957. As a child, he heard the Dave Clark Five's "Bits and Pieces" and was blown away by the massive booming echo of the song, but it wasn't the first single he purchased -- "The first record I bought was Dave & Ansel Collins' 'Double...
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Coming Down, Daniel Ash
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