Ride - Waves
April 1993, Blackpool Empress Ballroom, Ride were co-headlining with the Charlatans for a seaside special in the same resort The Stone Roses made such an unforgettable impact just a few short years before. The venue was packed to the rafters and the atmosphere was filled with excitement and anticipation. That's my favourite memory fo Ride, the jingly jangly guitar band from Oxford who never really were as successful as they deserved, but they were truly a band who for once deserved the next big thing tag.
They did have a top ten hit with "Leave Them All Behind" and were gently mocked with great affection by Newman and Badiel on "The Mary Whitehouse Experience" show on BBC2. "Waves" is an album which features Ride at their peak with BBC Recordings from 1990-1994. Listening to these sessions was like meeting an old friend that you hadn't seen in a long time. I was amazed that almost ten years on Ride sound as fresh and timeless as they did in their early 90s heyday. The boyish good looks of lead singer Mark Gardener with his angelic vocals and star quality was complemented with panache and elegance from guitarist Andy Bell (Ex-Hurricane #1 and now with Oasis) with Steve Queralts unmistakable bass playing and tub thumping professional extraordinaire Lawrence Colbert.
"All I Can See" begins with a crystal clear bass intro which leads beautifully into guitar licks which have an air of John Squire about them. The vocals are like Ian Browns, but a little sweater and more distinctive. Being live recordings these songs have an urgency and vibrant vibe which no end of professional studio recordings could recreate. On "Not Fazed" the guitars have the sleazy swagger of vintage stones. It's got the typically classic indie sound with harmonies which make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. It's a simple arrangement, gutsy performance on this criminally underrated track. "Birdman" is the sound of a very tight unit, well rehearsed, confident and competent. You can hear how much of an influence Ride have been for a lot of today's top bands.
With seventeen tracks and sessions for John Peel, Mark Goodier and Mark Radcliffe this is an essential addition for any Ride completist.
Nicholas Paul Godkin