1,000 Summers



CANADA HAS always had a good ear for U.K. bands, and a fair share of our own talent making British-inspired rock. The Ashgrove hails from Goderich, Ont., and has been pursuing their brand of Britrock -- the kind concerned more with the music than the hairstyles -- since 1994. Their last effort, 1999's Photo Album, spawned a few minor hits on small-market rock radio, and was heard on such TV shows as Dawson's Creek and Party Of Five.

1,000 Summers is the band's fourth independent disc, a culmination of three years work to make a complete album as opposed to a collection of songs.

Beginning with cricket sounds, the first of nine ambient instrumental segues, the disc puts its best foot forward with Blue Sky I, II & III. The delicate track is like a simple, long crescendo of shimmering guitars reminiscent of Daniel Lanois-era U2.

Bono et al. are the biggest influence on The Ashgrove, but the five-piece band comes into its own as the record progresses. Ceilings is more of a blue-collar rocker and the title track is a short vignette of sweet, acoustic guitar and strings that runs seamlessly into Without You, a retro rocker that breaks up the disc's moody atmospherics.

The Ashgrove's strong suit is blissful melodies sung by Jeremy Jongejan. Like Coldplay's Chris Martin, he's a sensitive guy, not afraid to sing lines like "I wish I was a thief in the night / I'd break in just for the sight of you." He also offers this advice: "Don't be concerned with what you're not." It's a good tip for his own band, who may not be the next Radiohead, but they just might be the next Pilate.