There seems to be a wave of Shoegazing revival happening this year, with a few of the big names from the original era coming back and releasing albums. Original active between 1988 till 1996, over the course of four albums, Ride went from shoegazing drone to straight forward alternative rock, but they sort of ended on a sour note with ‘Tarantula’, which was created as the band fell apart. It always felt like the ended on the wrong album, that they had more to give the world and it was just a shame. Thankfully, the years have healed their bruised souls and they have come back with their fifth album, ‘Weather Diaries’. I do not have much information about where the album was record, but I can tell you it was produced with Erol Alkan. So, might as well get on with the review….
01 – Lannoy Point
With a strange and whirling sound, the guitars start to be slowly, then an effect driven bass enters the song and they are back. It is a good opening track, one that has maturity at its side mixed in with a sense of renewed energy. It feels exciting at this point to have Ride back, it might not be their most exciting start, but it is certainly making the right sorts of noise for an opening track.
02 – Charm Assault
It is back to basics here on ‘Charm Assault’, you can hear an updated take on the mindset behind ‘Not Fazed’ from ‘Going Blank Again’. The riff on this song is brilliant, it is dominating and I think that this album needed a song such as this near the beginning of the record. I like Ride when they are releasing songs such as this, it just feels right and full of that attitude that always made them such an interest band the first time around.
03 – All I Want
With a beginning that feels like it was plucked out of a phone advert, ‘All I Want’ quickly changes into a slice of dream rock that is so deep into shoegazing territory, you feel your eyes are automatically drawn to your feet when it is being played. Musically, it is not the biggest leap into the dark for the band, but that is not what people will be wanting here, they will just want a great new tune from Ride and this song delivers that and then some.
04 – Home Is a Feeling
Now this is old school, but without the distortion peddle being deployed at will. It is a heavy, slow and drifting song which takes you out of your life and you can just drift in the noise of the band. It is missing that distortion peddle to be honest, but it still sounds brilliant, if a little short to be honest.
05 – Weather Diaries
The title track of the album is a beast of a number, almost seven minutes in length and it is a beautiful dream pop/shoegazing song. Everything is allowed to breath, the riffs are allowed to grow naturally, there is the glorious noise which has been missing from some of the songs and it just hits all the right buttons! When Ride get it right, boy do they get it right!
06 – Rocket Silver Symphony
The beginning of this song sounds like notes are being dropped like air raid sirens in the night skies, it is a noise enhanced number for the opening two minutes and then, boom – you are back in an indie pop number. It is somewhere between Kraftwerk, Neu, Ride themselves and Slowdive, it is a bombastic piece of ambition that is pulled off in style. Well played Ride, well played!
07 – Lateral Alice
After such dream immersed numbers, it is somewhat of a relief to have the punk driven noise of ‘Lateral Alice’. With a sense of experience and attitude, the band sound as if tomorrow is their goal, if it comes or not is a different matter, but that is where they are heading. I love the noise behind this song, it is best played with the volume turned all the way up and it is another glorious number.
08 – Cali
This is the first song on the album which does not grab me in the way that other tracks have done, maybe it just has the misfortune to follow such a sterling set of songs, but it just feels a little tired compared to the rest of the songs on this album. That said, it is not a bad number either to be honest, just a little lethargic after the last seven tracks.
09 – Integration Tape
A little noise influence interlude, it acts as a natural break on the album and it does that task with ease. But you are not going to rush to play it again to be honest, no matter how good it sounds.
10 – Impermanence
‘Impermanence’ is a dream rock number that feels an illusion that has been given flesh and allowed to wonder the world. It allows you to drift as it gently drops those notes that stir the soul, it has such a beautiful sound that it feels like you have drifted into the spaces between worlds, as if the dreamscape is real. I like songs that can make you drift away in your own thoughts, it makes the world a more interesting place.
11 – White Sands
‘White Sands’ is a builder, a track which takes a while to get itself together and it is all down to those small loops that Ride try to build up which are incredibly hard to pull off. To be honest, it does not quite hit the highs I think they were aiming for, but you have to applaud the attempt and it is not an awful or bad song, just an average ending to a great record.
Overall, ‘Weather Diaries’ is a great return from one of the lost heroes of the early 90’s UK indie scene, it has a sound of a group with something to prove, they want to make that ending right and it shows in the tone of the album. It is not desperate as they know that they have the talent, but there is a hunger behind this song that adds fire to everything on this album. It has a few duds, but to be honest, those duds are not bad in the greater scheme of things. It is another comeback album which does not sound shite, it sounds great and it is not rehashing old glories. Welcome back Ride, what took you so long!
8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart
Top track – Weather Diaries