Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Sire r1 525987
I missed Ride during their initial incarnation, they had already broken up by the time I bought this album. I was thrilled when they reunited and I finally got to see them live a few years ago when they played most of this album in a largely empty Wiltern Theater here in Los Angeles. Despite the small crowd the band gave an inspired performance that I found thrilling. This is one of my favorite albums of the 1990s and I've been listening to it regularly for two decades. It opens with "Seagull" which delivers a kinetic wall of sound and enigmatic lyrics of alienation and redemption. It is an explosive song that displays the band's instrumental force to great effect. I find it extremely exciting and it is one of my favorite songs in their catalog. The energy continues with "Kaleidoscope" although it has more of a pop feel to it particularly in the guitar riffs and the vocal harmonies. The lyrics anticipate their impact on a lover after the singer is dead but are more trippy than morbid. "In a Different Place" is a slower song with a stately, almost martial pace in the verses before sonically erupting in the choruses. The lyrics describe being separated from physical reality and the song has an appropriately dreamlike feel to it. Side one concludes with "Polar Bear" which is another slow song with droning guitar chords and a compelling rhythmic drive. Its lyrics describe repression and freedom in highly poetic terms. Side two begins with "Dreams Burn Down" which features cascading sheets of sound before the verses begin. The verses are punctuated with blasts of sound that reflect the anguish expressed by the lyrics which describe an unfulfilled love. A tribal drum beat introduces "Decay" which is a hard-driving song about the transient nature of love and life. "Paralysed" is a song about insecurity and inadequacy delicately crooned by Andy Bell. Laurence Colbert's muscular drumming drives the song which features a hypnotic dirge-like instrumental finale. The album concludes with the magnificent "Vapour Trail" which further explores the transience of love. It features shimmering layers of jangly guitars and more dynamic drumming from Colbert gradually building to a majestic climax and a delicate string coda. It is a brilliant finish to a flawless album. I adore the sonic richness of Ride's sound which I find endlessly compelling and exciting. The music is simultaneously beautiful and powerful and when I saw them live playing it at a high volume it absolutely mesmerized me. Their lyrics are sublime, full of evocative and dreamy imagery as well as romantic sensitivity. Their persistent themes of alienation, escape, transience and insecurity are relevant to me and add to the impact of the album. I consider it a masterpiece. I'm so happy they have gotten back together and I really like their most recent album "Weather Diaries" as well. Recommended to My Bloody Valentine fans who wish they could understand the band's lyrics.