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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
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The Null Corporation
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No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Pull and Repel
Two Sheds Music

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Line-up changes. Devistating car-wrecks. Injuries and equipment damage. A stellar new EP. Ashen has seen them all.

Pull and Repel, Ashen's first release since 2000's full-length, No Other Comfort, serves as the band's final contribution to the Atlanta indie band catalogue, leaving behind for us a lasting impression of an outfit still in it's growing stages.

With Pull and Repel, Ashen take a step towards darker territory left mostly untouched by No Other Comfort. A step well-understood given the consequences that berthed this EP, but also remarkably fitting with the band's sound. Somber themes sung in Erin Akemi's delicate soprano tug at your heart and soul without pulling you down into a pit of despair. Her vocals are bad news with a spoonful of sugar: they provide fodder for contemplation, but are still delicious and familiar. Still it's the musicianship showcased on this EP that pulls the band further away from the trademark 'emo' sound. Although a mere five tracks long, each song is upwards from the five-minute mark, time used to exercise talent out of the traditional song format. Longer, guitar filled intros, and well-crafted musicianship create a sound that's soft and elegant, but soars beyond the land of cotton candy fluff.

"Anyone can say they tried/ But I'm failing now" starts off "Our Being Here" a piece that keeps you bubbling at the surface, dreaming of yesterday while Akemi drowns and floats in all the let-downs and what could-have-beens. A live studio performance was showcased on local Athens, GA compilation, WUOG's Live in the Lobby disc, only under the title of "Our Time Here."

Overall, Pull and Repell is an album that's best for, as my boyfriend put it, simply sitting down and listening to some Ashen. It's simply too beautiful and demanding to become background music for anything else.

Reviewed by Natalie B. David
A fresh graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, in her spare time she can be found clumsily manipulating words and phrases for LAS and Beautiful/Decay magazine, hungering for sushi, naming inanimate objects or pondering the existence of stiletto heels. If you see her, you should buy her a cup of coffee because, chances are, she probably needs it.

See other reviews by Natalie B. David



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