Ride: Weather Diaries

Another shoegaze legend returns to have a new crack, but do Ride live up to your precious paisley memories?

- First thing's first, I love Ride. I love Ride so much I went to Japan in 2015 just to see them headline Fuji Rock, and it was a great decision on my part because they were utterly mesmerizing.

So it was with some degree of apprehension that I pressed play on Weather Diaries, the first new album in twenty-one years from the Oxford shoegazers. The recent spate of new albums from formative bands we’d not heard from in years has been pretty hit and miss. Slowdive: hit. The Stone Roses: miss. Jesus and Mary Chain: hit.

I’ve now listened to Weather Diaries over thirty times and I still can’t bring myself to put it in the hit category. The first single, Charm Assault, was hopeful. It had the jangly hook and guitar fuzz we know and love — but the vocals were weak, which is a constant throughout the album. To be fair, Ride’s vocals haven’t ever been a strong point, and shoegaze generally doesn’t put a lot of emphasis on wide-ranging or overly exciting singing —but there’s a definite sense of Mark Gardener and Andy Bell ringing it in with both the lyrics and their completely emotionless singing.

The opening track, Lannoy Point, has a great intro, and had me excited for what was to come, but the album just doesn’t get any better than that, which isn’t to say it’s not good — it’s a perfectly solid album — it’s just not a great album.

The title track is a definite highlight, with a slow start, it builds to a gorgeous musical finale that lasts the entire second half of the song and makes you wish the entire album were instrumental. Other songs that stand out are Rocket Silver SymphonyImpermanence, and the closer, White Sands, which has a gentle, almost nursery-rhyme feel to begin with, then gets heavy, showcasing the extraordinary drum skills of Laurence Colbert.

For the most part, whilst absolutely listenable, this album is entirely forgettable. The only moment I actually felt something was when I was stuck in a gigantic suburban shopping centre waiting for the Apple store to fix my phone and the song All I Want suddenly expressed exactly what I was feeling with the lyric, “All I want is to leave this town”; but if I’d not had the horrifying experience of suburban mediocrity, I might have continued to yawn through the entire thing — and maybe that’s where Weather Diaries best sits — in mediocrity. What it really left me wanting to do was listen back to Ride’s old stuff, which isn’t a bad outcome really.

- Marian Blythe.


Album Details

Album Title: Weather Diaries
Artist: Ride
Record Label: (Wichita / Inertia)