It was hell trying to make this. I was trying to write and it wasn’t quite happening. We all got pretty burned out from the touring, so it was a bit of a dark record. We were also reacting to the pop expectations that were put on us. We just wanted to do something a bit more reactionary and darker to reflect what we’ve been gone through. I went off the rails a bit. But one good thing was Charlotte [Hatherley] came along. I was living in an apartment with her boyfriend. She was really young, she was kind of shy and awkward, but she was also a great guitarist.
I wish we could have taken a bit of breathing space before making it. We were all a bit psychologically damaged from the 1977 time. Maybe this album was the catharsis and the thing that got us through it, but it was a tough few years.
However, the majority of the album, along with Free All Angels and Meltdown, has rarely been played as of 2008[update] since her departure from the line-up. The tone of the album was a noticeable departure from the sound of 1977, with the much darker edge reflecting the mood of the band at the time, who were suffering from burn out as a result of near non-stop touring since their 1996 album 1977. Despite this, the songs still contain the trademark elements of Ash songs. The album also had more of an American indie and grunge influence from the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins, Hüsker Dü, Nirvana and Nada Surf along with the Weezer albums Weezer and Pinkerton.