One of Shoegaze’s Best Bands Returns
Distorted guitars echo out over synthesizers and a familiar voice sings indecipherable lyrics. This beginning is only fitting for a Ride album. The band — which consists of Mark Gardener on vocals, Steve Queralt on bass, drummer Laurence Colbert and Andy Bell, the former bassist for Oasis — last released their album Tarantula in 1996. Since then, they have issued live recordings and compilation albums, but Weather Diaries is a deeply satisfying LP that returns to familiar territory while also peppering their music with a sound of modernity.
It opens with the wandering “Lannoy Point,” where the dreamy and distorted instrumentals set the tone for the rest of the album. “Charm Assault” is similar to their earlier work where pop was drenched in noise. On “All I Want,” the listener gets a taste of the modern elements Ride employ on this album. With the help of producer DJ Erol Alkan, they constructed a world that inhabits the ’90s, but is successfully brought to the present.
“Home is a Feeling” and “Cali” are ’90s-esque throwbacks that make listeners feel as if they’re walking along the Venice Beach boardwalk and dreamily gazing at its eccentric inhabitants. “Integration Tape” serves as a brief musical interlude before the wistful “Impermanence.” The noisiest and fuzziest song that also has the cleverest title is “Lateral Alice.” The record closes with “White Sands,” a sort of continuation of “Lannoy Point.” It is a sprawling and nostalgic track that is quieter than the other songs and serves as a symbolic closing parenthesis to the album.
It’s been over ten years since Ride have released anything and over twenty years since they have released a studio album. The English shoegaze band’s new release Weather Diaries is a glorious, familiar and necessary return. It still retains their shoegaze aesthetic with warped guitars and drums that drown out the vocals, but with an added element of synth and electro pop. Ride are one of those bands that can remain relevant with or without added synthesizers or modern sound, but, hopefully, with the addition of the electronica element, their work will be introduced to a younger generation that will discover the richness of their discography.