Ash and the Endings: “Squelching Sneaks” [PREMIERE]

Gavin Alexandra

Some of the most upbeat, major key arrangements in blues music can still back some of bleakest yarns, ranging all the way from heartache to institutionalized oppression. So even if the traditional scales and chord changes behind with this landmark genre may not appeal to everyone, its anguished lyrical standards will always present a primitive yet therapeutic option for an artist in pain, no matter their main stylistic preferences.

Take for example relative newcomers Ash and the Endings and their eponymous frontwoman Ashton Chase, whose compelling contralto crosscuts between Patsy Cline, Dusty Springfield, and Karen Carpenter. This Austin five-piece offers up harmony-heavy alt-rock with cinereous traces of psych and indie, placing them approximately in the same pack as Dr. Dog, The Cranberries, and Paramore. And last June, Ash and the Endings’ debut self-titled EP showed off a ton of range on a seven-song set, illustrating a mastery over slow, fast, loud, and soft.

But after the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the opportunity to unabashedly share opinions on the poisonous patriarchy that permeates throughout the Lone Star State was too poignant to pass up for Chase. And what better avenue to express that than the blues? You’ll learn more about that inspiration in an upcoming article for Sidecar Junkaroo, but sonically, this follow-up to spring’s “Austin Flower Co.” hears Ashton’s typically tame vocals take on more of a tortured Janis Joplin-esque moan, similar to what we’ve already heard on “Shake Shake” and “Woman (It’s Up To You)”. Between that and its straight-ahead blues rock approach, “Squelching Sneaks” shows how capable this quintet is when it comes to expanding their idiosyncratic formulas to fresh-yet-familiar territories. And since we’d far prefer splashing in puddles over protecting paws from scorching pavement right about now, go ahead and lace up “Squelching Sneaks” and put it on repeat.

Squelching Sneaks

Ash and the Endings

Ash and the Endings: “Squelching Sneaks”

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