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Album Review – RIDE – This Is Not A Safe Place

Ride review

RIDE – This Is Not A Safe Place

There’s not much to be gained from being nasty or excessively critical about music you don’t like, or genres you don’t “get”. In the short-term, it can be fun, and it may help you connect with like-minded souls. However, dismissing others on a matter of taste or style only makes yourself look bad.

In saying that, it’s okay to have muddled thoughts about the waves of nostalgia swirling around us these days. If people have a good night out of the house, perhaps escaping the tribulations of work and the drudgery of home life, it can’t be a bad thing. Even when the names on the bill strike you as being utter banal, pointless in the 90s and irrelevant today; if people enjoy themselves, who cares?

It is depressing though because it could be about so much more and Ride are the perfect example of the template these acts should follow.

It’s not as though was a clamour for the band to return. The group faded away in their first outing, leaving a few hardy and hardened souls to mourn their loss, while the rest slightly shrugged, attention diverted to the shiniest era of guitar bands in many a year.

Andy Bell’s foray with Hurricane #1 gave us a fantastic single, and not much else, and stating anything more than he played bass for Oasis will derail any argument. The rest mainly kept their head down, keeping busy, getting by. However, as reunions started to take hold, and earn cash, even shoegazing acts, and their ilk, got in on the act.

MBV provided previously unreleased, if not new, material but the reason the Ride revival has soared to greater heights than most of their peers is all down to the music. The live shows have been fantastic, offering new life to some of the best songs of the early 90s, but the post-reunion material stands up in comparison.

The band’s new album has already been cautiously cited (by Q) as the group’s best work. Some long-term fans may scoff at the suggestion, deriding how the tunes and tales of their youth could be matched today. Then again, it’s likely this opinion is only held by those who haven’t heard the record yet.

The album starts in exhilarating fashion. Opener R.I.D.E knocks you for six on first listen, and if you don’t like it, don’t go looking for Bell’s side-project Glok. Future Love and Repetition plant you on firmer ground, and it’s easy to see why they were the songs the band chose to preview the album. The songs burst with a jangling guitar-pop that makes you sit up straight and feel a little bit brighter, and that’ll never go out of fashion.

If you delve into the lyrics of Repetition, it’s too tantalising to overlook the song could be argued as being a metaphor for the band, and how they feel about this time around. It’s not as if Ride are reinventing themselves here, but they’re venturing further. It doesn’t feel as though it’s a band racing out of their comfort zone, it strikes you as the sound of an act who are making their comfort zone considerably bigger.

Album closer In This Room gives you the line featuring the album title, and following on Shadows Behind The Sun, it provides the epic yet modest finish that feels right with the album. Perhaps Ride could have raced away with a record that was all bluster and shining melody of the opening tracks, but they’ve given us a record that fits with today.

It’s not all fantastic. Eternal Recurrence attempts to broaden the palette, but it presses the brakes too much after the invigorating opening burst of the record. A different sequence may have allowed it to flow more naturally, as opposed to feeling like a full-stop in the middle of the party. However, that’s a minor quibble, and it is a record of two halves.

Which is fine and fitting for Ride, they were never a band moving at one speed. If you’ve got a preferred style of Ride, you’ll find it on This Is Not A Safe Place, alongside a lot more. No matter your thoughts on modern life, we should always look to move forward. Ride agree, and they’re dragging us along with them, so jump on board.

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