Twilight of the Innocents
|Twilight of the Innocents|
|Studio album by Ash|
June 29, 2007(ROI)July 2, 2007(UK/USA)
|Recorded||May 2006 – January 2007|
|Singles from Twilight of the Innocents|
|Drowned in Sound||link|
|Pitchfork Media||7.1/10 link|
|Stylus Magazine||B link|
Twilight of the Innocents is the fifth studio album by Ash, released on June 29, 2007 in the Republic of Ireland and July 2, 2007 in the United States and the United Kingdom. The album was produced by Tim Wheeler, and mixed by Michael Brauer.
In 2006, Ash bought the lease for three years for a recording studio in New York, and decided to record their follow up to 2004’s “Meltdown” here. This album marks the band’s first release since returning to its original “power trio”.
The songs recorded from this album were intended to have a substantially different sound from the Californian rock of “Meltdown” and to acquire more of a “tight 70s guitar band sound”, and less of a polished sound that their previous albums had. The band planned to road test their new tracks by “playing out and about in tiny New York bars, unannounced, just for fun.”
By September, the album had the working title of “5.5”, due to the band considering the album to be their fifth and a half album. The band were continuing to record demos, with the intention of using 14 or 15 of the demos to record for the album itself. This month the band also played their debut gig since returning to a three, their first in 14 months. The gig was held in New York, at a party by the record producer and DJ Arthur Baker. The band debuted two new tracks at the party: “What Is The Meaning?” and “Roulette”.
In October, the band played their second gig, debuting the same songs, at a concert organized by Spin Magazine at the Annex in New York. By this point the band had decided upon the 14 of the demos they were to record for the album: “I Started A Fire”, “Suicide Girls”, “Shadows”, “Roulette” (previously called “Keep It In”), “Princess Six”, “Polaris”, “Dark and Stormy”, “You Can’t Have It All”, “End of the World”, “Blacklisted”, “Shattered Glass”, “Saskia”, “What Is The Meaning?” and “In Hell”. The other tracks are to be relegated to appear either as b-sides, on future albums, or simply scrapped altogether. During October and November the band recorded the guitar and drums parts for the tracks.
In late November and early December, Wheeler began to record the vocals for the album. As well as this, the string sections for “Polaris” and “In Hell” were recorded with a 20 piece orchestra in Los Angeles at this time. Some rough mixes were done for the tracks in December also. In January 2007, Michael Brauer was recruited to mix the album. The vocals were being finished off at this time (despite Wheeler coming down with the flu) also. After around a fortnight, the tracks were finished being mixed, and the songs were mastered.
Before the announcement of the album details, a few name changes occurred. "In Hell" became "Twilight of the Innocents", "Roulette" became "Ritual" and "Suicide Girls" became "Palace of Excess". TOTI began with 27 rough songs, which they started recording demos for in June 2006.
Talking to Kerrang! in 2008, Tim Wheeler said:
We'd gone back to being a three piece without Charlotte [Hatherly], and it was the first album we’d produced ourselves. That was a big challenge. I’m so proud of how it turned out. We made it in our own studio as well, which we put together ourselves in New York. The real crowning achievement of the whole thing for me is the final track. It was written in a way that was completely unlike anything we’d ever done and it was made using a computer, recording in sections and then cutting them up and moving them around. I love how it came out somehow sounding organic. I think I’ve really started to find my voice on the vocals on the album. I've found a new strength to it. This is the start of a new time for us really.
On 4 April 2007 the album title was revealed to be “Twilight of the Innocents”. For three months previous to this, the band had held a hangman game with its fans on MySpace and their message board. Each week the band would provide the players with 5 potential letters, and hold a vote. Whichever letter got the highest amount of votes per week would be considered the fans guess, and contributed towards the hangman game. Tim had also managed to get Chris Moyles involved in the game during an interview on his Breakfast Show, who subsequently had members of Travis guessing the next day as well. Neither came near. The game continued for around 8 weeks, until the game was aborted in late March, due to leaks in the press, and various correct guesses to the title. The title of this album could be a play on words of Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical work 'Twilight of the Idols'. This was in turn a play on words of the Wagner composition 'Twilight of the Gods'.
During the period prior to the revealing of the album’s title, it was codenamed “TOTI”.
In February 2007 the band began their first tour since 2005 in the form of the “Higher Education Tour”. The tour consisted of around 20 universities around the United Kingdom and was in co-operation with the NUS. On this tour the band debuted several new songs, and were supported by the band V//Formation. The band also played promotional gigs for XFM and BBC Radio 1.
In February, the band released a free download track to the fans. “I Started A Fire”, the eventual album’s opener. The song raised much excitement from the general public, in a similar fashion to “Clones” did for “Meltdown”. According to the band, it had the potential to be a single, but the band decided to release it as a free download instead.
In May, band travelled to Germany and Holland for a European tour. They then played several dates across the UK and Ireland at small festivals, record shops and universities. In the album's week of release Ash performed at Koko in London for four nights in a row.
So far, three singles have been released from the album.
- You Can't Have It All was released as a download on 9 April 2007 and in a physical format on CD and vinyl on 16 April. The song was accompanied by three b-sides on three different formats, CD, gatefold vinyl and a 7” poster bag, respectively: “Saskia”, “Comet Tempel 1” (previously called "What is the Meaning?") and “Ghosts”. The single peaked at #16 in the UK charts, making it the band's 12th top 20 hit.
- “Polaris” was released on June 18, 2007 on three formats: CD, including the b-side "Come on Over", and on two 7" vinyls - the first including the b-side "Chinese New Year", the second including "Kingdom of Shadow", which was written by Ash's drummer, Rick McMurray.
- "End of the World" was released on September 10, 2007 on CD and two 7" vinyls. The CD single included three b-sides: "Wasted On You", "Statis In Darkness", and "Seventh Circle", the latter being a song that was first performed live by the band back in 2000 when it was entitled "Singapore Song". The two vinyl formats include tracks from "Twilight of the Innocents" recorded live in the studio as the band were writing the album.
A free 7” box to hold all the singles released from “Twilight of the Innocents” was available from the band’s website as a limited run. The box can only hold the vinyl loose, and not them included in their sleeves.
All songs were written by Tim Wheeler.
- "I Started A Fire" – 4:25
- "You Can't Have It All" – 3:35
- "Blacklisted" – 3:46
- "Polaris" – 4:32
- "Palace of Excess" – 3:38
- "End of the World" – 4:20
- "Ritual" – 3:43
- "Shadows" – 3:55
- "Princess Six" – 3:54
- "Dark and Stormy" – 4:15
- "Shattered Glass" – 5:02
- "Twilight of the Innocents" – 6:21
Descriptions concerning all the album tracks can be found on the band's MySpace page.
- "Saskia" is the bonus track on the Japan edition.
- "New Tattoo" was the iTunes Store pre-order exclusive track and is no longer available.
- Johnston, Emma. Kerrang! Issue #1235, November 08, 2008. Treasure Chest. The Intimate Portrait Of a Life in Rock. Tim Wheeler. P.54