When I discovered Brit band Ride was coming out with an album this year, I couldn’t have been more excited! Pioneers of shoegaze in the late 80s/ early 90s, their debut album Nowhere is considered one of the most influential and greatest of its genre. The band only released four albums before they broke up in 1996. The band played together again for a brief one-off reunion in 2001. Guitarist Andy Bell went off to play with Oasis and the off-shoot of Oasis, Beady Eye, while vocalist Mark Gardener and drummer Laurence Colbert went off on their own projects. Ride reunited in 2014, but it wasn’t until this year that they released new material. Weather Diaries, the band’s fifth album, is their first in 21 years! Fans have been waiting for this album for a long time, and it did not disappoint!
The album gets off to a running start with the opening track “Lannoy Point”, which is a nearly 6 minute long ride (pardon the pun), and easily my favorite of the album. Immediately on hearing this song, I knew the rest of the album was going to be great. The tracks starts off with a lone echoing guitar, and slowly builds instruments on top of each other as the tempo picks up. “Lannoy Point” has everything that you love about classic Ride, but don’t think they’re getting too nostalgic on you. There are also elements of modern electronica peeking through in the ascending synth line that gives the track more edge, and the lyrics are a giant slap in the face to Brexit.
Just when you think you’ve pegged how the rest of the album is going to sound, the band does a 180 with “Charm Assault”. One of the singles of the album, this shows a garage-rock side of Ride, and it’s fantastic! You can really tell that the band members have hit their stride as songwriters and musicians. Ride has become comfortable with their signature sound, but also expanding out into other genres, and they’ve never sounded better! In the middle of the album, the band slows it down with tracks like “Home Is A Feeling”, which is a throwback to Ride to their 90s shoegaze glory, and title-track “Weather Diaries”, a psychedelic rock-tinged masterpiece featuring a stunning and understated guitar solo.
And just as you’re sitting back comfortably, the band turns it around again with “Lateral Alice”, a hard-rocking tune, and another example of how Ride eased so well into other genres with this album. The band continues to surprise with the final tracks. The last songs, including “Impermanence” (a title that sounds like it came straight of a Joy Division album) and “White Sands” are slower and filled with melancholic lyrics and melodies. The last lyrics of the album “Time waits for no man, what’s left behind is ours” set the mood for the rest of “White Sands”, a full minute of nothing but distortion and brooding. Just as the album began unassuming, so does the end, as you’re still processing what happened three songs ago. Weather Diaries leaves you wanting more, but in the best way possible.
Favorite Tracks: “Lannoy Point”, “Weather Diaries”, “Lateral Alice”, “Impermanence”