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Ash Gray and the Girls: Born in the Summer

Reviewed By: Dave Goodwin
Label: Ash Gray and the Girls
Format: CD

One of my school mates was a proper oddball. He came from a church background, his father being a priest in the local church and this lad used to dress dead straight, if you know what I mean? His dad whenever you saw him was the epitome of the straight bloke as well, and his wife was all prim and proper too. If you tried to colour them, they would be they 18% grey. I used to see him a lot as we both played for the local Boys Brigade footy team and he was the BB's Gymnastics champion for that year. After a long, long time I was invited to his thirteenth or fourteenth birthday party, which was held at his house which was not far from mine, and I decided it would be a great insight into the straight-laced church life. Whilst there I got a sneak glance into the back bedroom after mistakenly walking into it to looking for the toilet. The sight that met my eyes on opening the door was something to remember....

If you were to wander around a record shop and your eyes were to fix on to the cover of Ash Gray and the Girls 'Born in the Summer', you would probably have some idea from the cover of just what you were buying. Your idea would probably be bang on the money as well. It screams 60's psychedelia, and inside it doesn't disappoint either.
Their influences range from the Mamas and the Papas, Abba, Slade, Sweet to the Hollies. Indeed the album ends in a very good version of the latter’s 1966 hit, 'Bus Stop'.
The sound is truly 60's driven with a slight modern twist on it. The “Girls” are singers Nina Murphy and Sarah Wise, and they provide sweet 60's B52's style harmonies. 'I Know You', which follows on from the starter 'Purple and Gold’, is a great example of this, and both are wonderful introductions to the disc.

This album, the New Yorkers’ first full length offering, is also often lyrically humorous and somewhat tongue-in-cheek,with 'All the Good Girls' and The Hottest Chick Around' being prime example of this. Ash Gray even seems to hanker after his own summer of love in the guise of 'The Only Woman on Earth', the content of which you'll have to find out for yourselves. Another highlight is the story of ‘Cecil’, a street preacher of cuddlesome disposition.

If you can feel the sometimes British feel and vibe on this, it is possibly because Ash is born of British parents, and spent a fair time in Britain on jaunts from Austin where he was living at the time he formed the line-up we see here in 2008.

.......the whole room was decked out in proper late 60's summer of love garb, the like of which I had not seen since stumbling into Diane's (my next door neighbors') room one Christmas. There were daff's, swirls, long skirts and all sorts of big like bottle things with hoses coming from them, and it had a greenhouse type smell to it.

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