Friday, September 16, 2016


Image result for ride nowhereShoegaze was never going to a commercial behemoth, of course, but it kind of got buried by grunge and Britpop pretty quickly and helped wipe out the careers of quite a few bands who were, for whatever guitar-centric reason, lumped into that category by critics who, as a rule, tend to be fucknut assholes.  They hate not being able to categorize music.  Scares the crap out of them.  Hence their invention of genres that they can shoehorn widely disparate bands into.  “Post-rock”, anyone?

Ride was an exception to the Rule of Cursed Movements. They seemed to shoot themselves in the foot and sabotage their own career with weak records and a lack of any discernible direction.  Their first couple of e.p.s were good, but their stroke of brilliance was including the 3rd e.p., FALL, with the U.S. version of the NOWHERE album.  They shared the same sound and the resulting 11 song record was a highpoint of early 90s guitar rock.  Polar Bear shimmered, Vapor Trail floated, Nowhere freaked out, it was all good.  Very very good.

The FOREVER TODAY e.p. got lumped in with NOWHERE on the 21st century reissues, but it always seemed to fit better with GOING BLANK AGAIN to me.  More pop-oriented tunes, less overwhelming guitars, but the songs on FOREVER TODAY were better written than the GOING BLANK AGAIN stuff.  I wanted to love that album, I really did.  It kicked off great with Leave Them All Behind and it ended even better with 0X4, but the eight songs in between just never grabbed me.  The shiny poppiness was kind of a letdown, but the songs themselves just never felt that strong to me.  Lyrics were never Ride’s strong point, so their music always needed to be above and beyond to make up for them.  Just didn’t happen here.

Image result for ride TODAY FOREVEROne of the best songs from this era, strangely enough, was the lengthy scorched-earth instrumental Grasshopper, relegated to an additional track on the Leave Them All Behind single. 

After this, Ride floundered.  CARNIVAL OF LIGHT was uniformly weak and uninspired.  Psychedelic?  Psychedelic pop?  Who the hell knows.  They seemed to be trying styles on randomly (as opposed to evolving), just praying for a hit.

I’m really not sure why the record company even bothered releasing the follow-up, TARANTULA.  The less said about it, the better.

Image result for ride going blank againAll in all, a promising start, an early (and very high) peak, and then a rapid descent into oblivion.  I tend to suspect that NOWHERE was all the originality the band had in them.  It’s tough to quit when you’re riding high, I guess, and even harder to find a foothold once you start falling.

Damn, that’s profound……

No comments: