steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Demonstration" CDR EP


Genres: experimental pop, indie pop, lo-fi

email the band

Jan 24 - 30 2005

The press photo says it all - all it shows is Ashelyn's four members standing around, looking disinterested.  Three of them have glasses (two of which have those ultra-chic wide rims), and they all appear intentionally nerdy-but-hip.  As a reviewer, I have to put up with dozens of these band photos a week, and it always surprises me how many of them look exactly the same.

Anyway, the point of that brief diatribe was to introduce Ashelyn's three-song EP, which is just as generically hip as their picture would suggest.  The band is a self-proclaimed "experimental pop" act - that's a deviously vague tag, though they can be better described as playing intricate, emo-tinged indie pop music.  Like their expressions on the photograph, the band seems pretty disinterested over the course of this CDR - the vocals are bland and unpolished, the compositions are filled with strange musical decisions, and the whole thing isn't particularly gripping.  Perhaps some problems can be resolved with an increase in production values, but I still can't see a song like "A Toast to Solidarity" ever getting anywhere with its uninteresting, ineffective melody.  The band seems to be going for the emo/indie rock sound, but it doesn't work.  They often hit upon a nice concept (the guitar melody during the verse of "Bill Gates," for example), but seem to mess it up later on (the almost hilariously abysmal ending singing on "Bill Gates," for example.)  With that said, they do have the general idea down pretty well; perhaps with a bit of time, Ashelyn could evolve into something more successful - that is, if they inject a bit more creativity and accessibility into their songs.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]