Ride – Interplay (Wichita Recordings)


As an ardent fan of the early 90’s English shoegaze scene with bands such as Swervedriver, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, it was a pleasant surprise to hear that Ride are still producing captivating music. Interplay is Rides 7th album and their 3rd album since reforming in 2014. Upon first listen to this album, I got that familiar feeling, like a long-lost friend giving you an overdue hug. As I proceeded further into the listening experience, I heard that familiar trademark vocal interplay between Mark Gardener and Andy Bell, and those sonically beautiful guitar jangles.

The first song “Peace Sign” immediately provided the excitement that I’d been longing for when given Interplay to review. It’s a mature, dense, dreamy and hypnotic take on their blueprint of old. Walls of colossal guitars engulf the entire album. Especially on songs like “Light In A Quiet Room” and “Portland Rocks”. This is Ride doing what they do best, their signature sound where the guitars are right up front.
One of my favourite tracks on the album is “I Came To See The Wreck”. It offers a similar feel to their earlier song “Drive Blind” off their first 1990 EP “Ride”. A dark, moody and hypnotic excursion into the ether of the unknown, it feels like patrolling a futuristic desert wasteland looking for recycled cyborg parts. It reminds me of the ending scene in the 1990 film Hardware, where the PIL song “Order of Death” fades out. Like Swervedriver, who have the uncanny ability to take you on a pathway to the forbidden, via vintage classic cars, Ride also explore those parallel universes via dreamlike vapours of the mind. This is done effectively with songs like “Midnight Rider” and “Last night I Went Somewhere To Dream” (great song title), allowing the listener to go on a trance-like out of body experience.

“Stay Free” is one of those songs that displays elements of attractive psychedelia. With cool tom tom rhythms, and effervescent vocals, the song floats along in haze of alluring sound. Trying to comprehend the muffled drum loop on the song “Essousia”, gets easier with the introduction of a Jah Wobble like bass line. Again, it creates a dreamlike soundscape – something which is incredibly prominent throughout Interplay. The album ends with a reflection, on “Yesterday Is Just A Song”, vocalist Mark Gardener feels like he’s trying to say goodbye to someone in the future, knowing quite well that he will see them again in the past. The delicately subdued vocal delivery, with its minimal instrumentation, provides a perfect way to allow the listener to wake up and emerge from the meditative state of this wondrous album.


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