Probably one of the best reformations yet, Ride have been better than ever in recent years and this is the follow up to the much loved Weather Diaries. Lead single Future Love is a sparkling slice of upbeat shoegaze with bodes well for the rest of the album. They have proved once again their worth and the only question left is....hat or no hat?
Vinyl Double LP £20.99 WEBB570LP
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Limited Vinyl Double LP £24.49 WEBB570LPC
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Ride working with Erol Alkan does not sound like something that should be happening in big 2019 and yet here we are, it’s happening… for the second time in three years. ‘This Is Not A Safe Place’ follows 2017’s ‘Weather Diaries’ in Ride’s quest to become the most reliable of the reformed shoegaze bands. And reliable it is! Obviously there’s all the usual stuff I could say about the sound of the guitars (and I will get on to that later), but the band’s strongest suit, they’re ability to write a good pop song, remains just as honed as it’s ever been.
This becomes obvious from track two, ‘Future’, which is just a really good song. It has exactly the sort of warm and engaging melody that coupled with Mark Gardener and Andy Bell’s slightly deadpan vocals, makes for something surprisingly affecting. To get there though you have to first listen to the perplexing ‘R.I.D.E.’ which seems to feature a guest spot from Siri saying the band’s name. This sort of alienating production is all over the album, like the vocal delay and synth breakdown that closes ‘Repetition’, or the frankly hideous sounding guitars on ‘15 Minutes’. It’s probably too simplistic to blame producer Erol Alkan but given I listened to a fair few of his remixes when I was 16… I’m pretty confident.
His production does come off on occasion mind, particularly on the grandiose indie disco heater ‘Jump Jet’. That said, best moments are when the band sound confident enough in their song writing to let it be. This is true of the aforementioned ‘Future’, but also on ‘Clouds of Saint Marie’ which sees Bell and Gardener doing a sweet back and forth over an anthemic classic Ride backing. And then there’s ‘End Game’ whose thrilling finale is all pounding drums and screeching guitars. Oooff! More of that please.
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