If you were to sum up the shoegazer scene – you know, the powerful noise pop with twirling effects going in and out of the songs and a great sense of melody to go with it – as it looked back in the early 90s, there were three bands that were more interesting than the rest, those being My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Ride.
Ride arrived with a neo-psychedelic wall of sound that relied on massive, trembling distortion and, at the core of it, a melodic nerve characterised by the ringing harmonies of chief songwriters Andy Bell and Mark Gardener.
The band’s two earliest albums, Nowhere (1990) and Going Blank Again (1992), are both considered landmarks in British indie rock in the 90s. They were released on Alan McGee’s famed indie label, Creation Records.
However, Ride were always reluctant to hang their hat on the shoegaze tag and changed musical direction with the 1994 album Carnival of Light, opting for a more classic rock sound. They lost the fans, the adoration of the music press and, before long, themselves, when Andy Bell and Mark Gardener decided to split up the band in 1996.
But you can’t keep a good band down, and in 2014 the stars realigned. Reunited, they released the acclaimed comeback long player Weather Diaries in 2017. And 2019 saw another album, This Is Not a Safe Place, which was perhaps one step above its predecessor.
Ride is the band that every budding indie guitarist wanted to be in growing up. Admired by fans and fellow musicians alike, their recent performances reveal why their music – and indeed musicianship – has endured over the past 30 years.
This Ride’s far from over. Come see for yourself when they play Roskilde Festival – 30 years after they were first here (that was in 1990!).