Ride: Interplay (Wichita/PIAS) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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I remember sitting in a Nottingham, England bar with Mark Gardener nearly 10 years ago when the Ride singer/guitarist told me the iconic ’90s shoegaze band were reforming. One of the first things he said was, “I can’t imagine us getting together and new material not happening. It’s just a natural process that when we get in a room that will probably happen.”

Well happen it certainly has. If 2017’s comeback album, Weather Diaries, and its successor two years later, This Is Not a Safe Place, were precursors to what might be, Interplay is the masterpiece Ride have been promising since getting back together. The jewel in an already impressive crown, but one that further illustrates Ride as a band looking forwards for inspiration instead of the nostalgia favored by many of their peers.

Written and recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the world and everything in it stood still, Interplay represents arguably Ride’s most collaborative collection of songs to date, which each of the band’s four members contributing their own pieces that went onto become its 12 songs.

What’s most apparent about Interplay is how it doesn’t sound like any other Ride record, yet at the same time is an album unmistakably created by Oxford’s finest. Whether that be down the instantly recognizable voice of Gardener and fellow guitarist/vocalist Andy Bell or the experimental nature throughout its compositions is up for debate. But what cannot be contested is the way the album oozes with a confidence and sensibility that suggests its creators know this might just be the finest collection of songs they’ve released since their debut, Nowhere, back in 1990.

The two lead singles show different sides to the album, with “Peace Sign” doffing its cap to the experimental German era of the mid- to late-’70s, while “Last Frontier” takes on a more leftfield pop edge (think Bowie’s “Heroes” or even The Lightning Seeds’ first record). Shoegaze by numbers this most definitely isn’t. Instead, there are moments here that recall Talk Talk (“Midnight Rider”), Tears For Fears (“Monaco”), or Arthur Lee’s Love (“Last Night I Came”). When they do delve into the big guitar histrionics of yesteryear, as on “Light in a Quiet Room,” the results are breathtaking. (www.thebandride.com)

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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