Pulsar

The return of Ride and their position close to my stereo is something I definitely wasn’t expecting this year. I wasn’t too bothered about them back in the early 90s, a couple of songs aside, and their Britpop incarnation was of no interest to me at all. But the 2017 Ride and their Weather Diaries album (a couple of songs too long maybe but a good record and Cali is one of my favourite songs this year) and now a new single- all of these things are pleasing me. This new song, Pulsar, has a lovely throbbing distorted bassline, highlighted by a drop out twice, and some beautifully FX laden guitars. Erol Alkan’s production gives everything a hard shine. Good stuff.

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Cali

I expressed the view on Twitter recently that the new single from Ride is a lovely thing, shot through with an end of summer feel. Opinions were divided: some suggested that the new album is superb, party due to Erol Alkan’s production and the simultaneous crunch and shimmer of the guitars; some could hear The House Of Love in the twin vocals; some suggested that it was alright, fine in a traffic jam on the radio but lacking true greatness; some suggested my mid-range hearing is shot.

I’m still into it several days later. From the opening bass intro, and diving bass runs through the verse, to the twin guitars and slightly out of focus vocals, it shimmers and swoops. The single version is shorter than the album one (which has an extended ending part) and the surfing video seems apt. An online reviewer suggested that hearing men in their forties sing lines like ‘Kissed you on a beach and I was saved’ is a bit embarrassing but I don’t buy that. When payday finally arrives I shall be buying the album.

Everything Changes

More new music- there’s lots of new music around at the moment isn’t there? A good thing, keeps us on our toes. This is the new one from Kid Wave, a group a lot of us round here fell for back in 2015 with their Wanderlust album. Everything Changes is all warmth- fuzzy guitars, a chiming lead and slow motion vocals. Shoegaze but with focus.

Reunited Oxfordians Ride have put out two new tracks. The first one, Charm Assault, was alright I felt but a bit too brash. It was followed by Home Is A Feeling, a sprawling FX pedal piece of work which lets you swim in it and also sounds like it could have been recorded in the Thames Valley in the summer of 1992, fringes and love beads.

But Kid Wave take the lead I think.

Chelsea Girl

I was listening to Ride the other day, sparked off by an interview with them in The Guardian recently (about their re-union) and a recent clip of them playing live for a radio station I saw somewhere online. I think I’ve said this before but I often thought the guitars on their first few e.p.s and the first two albums were tremendous, a swirling, overdriven, effects pedal pleasure. The drumming was top notch too. It was the vocals (and the lyrics) that were off putting- although I realised this weekend that I can live with Mark Gardener’s vocals much more than Andy Bell’s. After the second lp they fell under the spell of Oasis and the brasher 90s version of Creation Records, and started making classic 60s rock. Much less interesting. Their early stuff definitely has its moments- Chelsea Girl is the first song on their first piece of vinyl.

Chelsea Girl

Like A Daydream

I was not knocked out completely by Ride, Creation’s floppy haired and long sleeved t-shirt shoegazers. The guitars usually sounded good- although they never got anywhere near My Bloody Valentine’s fx swirl but they got compared to them by the NME often enough. I bought their first ep, the one with the red roses on the cover and then dipped in and out, often via other people. It was the vocals that put me off, too self-consicously fey and flimsy, and their lyrics seemed like an afterthought as well. But this song, happily for this run of posts, is a good one. Clanging guitars, manic drumming, youthful excitement captured.