sat 20/04/2024

Album: Ride - Interplay | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Ride - Interplay

Album: Ride - Interplay

Oxford indie kings not only on form, but breaking new ground

What a time to be alive it is for fans of late Eighties, early Nineties indie – the proverbial 6 Music Dads – with so many of the best acts from the era on the form of their lives.

Even in just the last year we’re spoilt for choice of quality albums by those who’ve kept on keeping on (J Mascis, Kristin Hersh), those who’ve come back but sound like they never went away (Slowdive), and those returned and completely revivified (The Jesus And Mary Chain).  

It’s into this latter category that Ride fit. The Oxford band reformed in 2014 and since then have made three albums with superproducer Erol Alkan which are better than large chunks of their original output. On the first comeback album, 2017’s Weather Diaries, they sounded like a fancied-up version of their early selves, but they seem to have gained even further in confidence and this time round – as with the Mary Chain’s newest effort – they seem determined to do whatever the hell they like and have fun with it. 

While there are tracks that sound a lot like classic Ride, notably the climactic “Portland Rocks”, elsewhere they sound a lot more modern, a lot more inclusive of the electronic influences that the various members – and Alkan in his own work – now bring on board, a lot more like a 2020s bands used to the dynamics of modern festivals. There’s parts that even seem to wryly acknowledge the influence that Ride themselves had on modern stadium post-indie bands like Coldplay. But at the same time they are playing with their precursors: “Light in a Quiet Room” is very Spacemen 3, “I Came to See the Wreck” is indebted to Depeche Mode, while “Monaco” has a startling amount of Duran Duran (who Alkan has also latterly produced) in it.  

Despite all that, it is obviously Ride – mainly due to the distinctiveness of their classic indie/psyche-pop vocal harmonies, but also because of that confidence bordering on swagger. Where once they were insecure “shoegazing” young men, this is a band that has been around the block, paid their dues, and is able to chuck these references around without earnest tribute-paying or fear of losing themselves. OK, occasionally lyrically and melodically it might veer a little far into the “hey clap along” arena-pleasing, but it’s hard to begrudge them that for exactly those reasons. Ultimately a spankingly good album and a pleasing reminder that age doesn’t have to dim talent.

@joemuggs

Listen to "Last Frontier":

They seem determined to do whatever the hell they like and have fun with it

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters