RIDE - GOING BLANK AGAIN AT 30!
Oxford, UK band RIDE's spectacular 1990's debut LP, Nowhere, a shoegaze masterpiece if ever there was one, along with My Bloody Valentine's 1991's Loveless, were the definitive statements of the genre. So the big question for RIDE was, what would they do for an encore? I guess it's every young bands challenge after making a great record. How do we follow it up? How do we avoid making the same record again(Nowhere II?). RIDE certainly wanted to avoid the sophomore jinx, and develop their sound.
Enter 1992's Going Blank Again. You knew RIDE were evolving just looking at the album's Picasso-esque album cover art, as opposed to the dour waves of Nowhere. As an opening mission statement, Leave Them All Behind, is really something special. Quite possibly the best thing they ever did, Vapour Trail being right up there. It sounds like the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" on acid! It's certainly the biggest, loudest, longest, and in some ways funkiest track, RIDE ever did, thanks to Loz Colbert's incredible beats on the drum kit, and Steve Queralt's wonderfully thick and intuitive bass line. The sonic maelstrom of Andy Bell and Mark Gardener's twin guitars to close the song is overwhelmingly massive and beautiful at the same time. In some ways it was a bit of a piss off to the shoegaze genre. It was like RIDE said "Ok you really want more shoegaze? Here it fucking is! Now can we all move on? It was RIDE's way of purging the shoegaze tag, and getting on with the business of writing songs.
The rest of GBA settles into a more poppy affair with the likes of Twisterella, Chrome Waves, and the breezy, 60's inspired ditty, Making Judy Smile. I still prefer Nowhere on the whole, but I appreciate RIDE's forward thinking attitude on GBA.
When RIDE first played after about 20 years, in 2015 I was lucky enough to get to see them a few times on the tour. If you've followed my blog you know I've worked with RIDE over the years, and it was great to see them playing again. They played a show in DC and the famous 930 club, and I filmed them from the catwalk. It's a unique vantage point to film from. It's not quite the same as usual front of the stage look, but it's cool to see more of the crowd reactions. I'm posting LTAB which they opened with! I think fans of RIDE will enjoy this never before seen footage.