I saw Mark Gardener play his acoustic solo set before Thurston Moore a few years past. People politely listened, but it was when brought in a few Ride covers that people really began to listen. You can sing along to Ride, you can feel nostalgic about Ride, and even acoustic the shoegaze numbers sounded fine. At the end of the set he gave a few hints about a possible reunion, and here was are in 2017, with their first album since 1996, Weather Diaries.
Ride have returned, but they have chosen to leaves the waves of 90’s shoegaze behind. With DJ Erol Alkan on production duty, the album strives for today, using all those techniques that don’t mix well with droning repetitive walls of noise.
This stops the band from simply evoking those old feelings like a tired old fad, yet at the same time the new direction feels a little ‘me too’, any layers of noise replaced by soft pop rock beats, more in common with Coldplay than Ride of old. A little harsh, apologies.There are some elevating moments, for that’s why we go along for the Ride, often thanks to Gardener’s singing against those rare moments which bring back Nowhere.
It’s hard to really ascertain what a band should do when they reunite; stick to what the fans remember, or take a new approach using the sounds of today to bring in fans of today. This isn’t a My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive level return, just a pleasant new ride.