Ride: Interplay [Album Review]

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Wichita/PIAS Recordings [2024]

Album Overview: When UK shoegaze legends Ride reunited in 2014, it seemed unlikely it would be anything more than a few shows. But a decade later the band is still going strong, touring and releasing new music that continues to reshape their legacy. While their reunion recordings may not reach the heights of era-defining albums like Nowhere and Going Blank Again, they’ve managed to carve out a new chapter in the band’s history that adds to their overall body of work rather than just being a footnote. Interplay, the band’s latest offering, continues that trend in fine fashion, showing that the 21st century version of Ride isn’t just a nostalgia act.

Musical Style: If you’re familiar with the band’s reunion albums, especially 2019’s This Is Not A Safe Place, you have a general idea of what to expect. Ride has fine-tuned their current sound, creating moody rock landscapes from layer upon layer of effects-laden guitars, precise drumming, and electronic keyboard textures that feel both modern and classic at the same time.

Evolution of Sound: The progression from the previous albums to this one is less about pushing boundaries and more about refining a good thing. Ride hasn’t been a “shoegaze” band for a long time, but some of those elements are still present in the effects-heavy production. That said, the songs themselves continue to reflect the leap in writing quality that the previous album demonstrated.

Artists with Similar Fire: Ride has managed to keep pace with many of their contemporaries who continue to put out fresh material. Fans of Swervedriver, Radiohead, Spiritualized, and My Bloody Valentine, as well as precursors like New Order and Depeche Mode, will find plenty to like on Interplay.

Pivotal Tracks: The album opens with the strong one-two punch of “Peace Sign” and “Last Frontier,” both emblematic of their current sound. The album is pretty consistent, so it takes some time for other highlights to rise to the top; but “I Came To See The Wreck” hits hard with its driving, bass-heavy mix, while “Last Night I Went Somewhere To Dream” shakes things up with its catchy vocal harmonies and chiming piano notes.

Lyrical Strength: The album’s lyrics seem pretty typical for Ride, exploring personal experiences in an oblique way, but using interesting imagery and universal themes to keep the songs from getting too abstract.

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Simon Workman

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