The Florence comparisons are inevitable – that's what happens when you're not first off the block with an album that's lyrically and musically overwrought, piling on the drama lest anyone feels it's not quite eventful enough. It's all a bit Twilight – blimey, this love business is literally a matter of life and death! – and the presence of a track called Vampire Smile hardly dispels the idea that this is best listened to while watching Edward and Bella on DVD with the TV on mute. But that track also highlights Ashes's strengths: rather than some techno-gothery, it's a country shuffle beneath a gleaming, arena-ready arrangement. You may need to be in possession of youth to take some of the lyrics seriously – "We were born to love like we were born to die", from Woke Up Dead, summons up the image of a drunk teenager watching their paramour copping off at a house party rather than Romeo and Juliet – but a sure ear for melody drags it all back from the brink of silliness. And it's a lot more enjoyable than Ms Welch's last effort.
Kyla La Grange: Ashes – review
Michael Hann is a freelance writer, and former music editor of the Guardian