Ride “Nowhere”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (# 487 in the Series) is Ride, Nowhere.

There have been some ridiculous labels for rock music’s subgenres. Acid rock? Math rock? Proto-punk?  The most ridiculous of all is emo (isn’t almost all rock music “emo”tional?).

The late 1980’s and early 1990’s gave us shoegazer rock. Shoegazing got its name from musicians who were not very mobile on stage staring at their instruments. It appeared that they were staring at their shoes. Some of the great bands hatched in this period were Lush, Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and Ride. Ride was formed in Oxford, England circa 1988.

1990 witnessed the band releasing 3 EP’s before dropping their debut album, Nowhere, on October 15, 1990. The album went as high as number 11 in the UK charts while it did not make a dent in the colonies (does cool music ever get recognized in the states?).

Nowhere is drenched with howling feedback and marked by understated brooding vocals. Most great bands have a member (or two) who are the rudders for their ship. Mark Gardener’s layered vocals and Andy Bell’s guitar take up most of the spotlight, but Andy Colbert’s bass and Steve Queral’s drums allow Bell and Gardener the room to explore the musical atmosphere.

Nowhere opens with “Seagull” and the listener realizes that they will be bombarded from all sides with enough reverb and feedback to make ears ring for some time. “Vapour Trail” and “Taste” were the two singles released from Nowhere. While these tunes are the most accessible and radio friendly, they failed to make a an impression with the buying public.

For my money, the star of the album is “Paralyzed.” This tune shows the band playing at a much more plodding pace than the others, but it shows a band who clearly knows what it is doing and how they are going to get it done. Gardener’s almost breathless repetition of the word “paralyzed” is ethereal as the band slows its way to perfection.

Much credit needs to be heaped on producer Marc Waterman ( Ash, Elastica, and Depeche Mode) for creating a brilliant wave of sound that washes over the listener.

At the start of “Vapour Trail” Gardener says “First you look so strong, then you fade away.” Unfortunately this is a foreshadowing of the relatively short career that the band would enjoy. Ride formed in 1988 and broke up in 1995 as they completed their fourth proper studio record, “Tarantula.” They did, though, give us Nowhere which I believe is the greatest album of the 1990’s.

A sidenote: Andy Bell joined Oasis as a bass player after the demise of Ride. A Chicago critic lambasted this waste of talent in this way: “Andy Bell playing with Oasis is like Chris Stamey playing guitar for Hootie and the Blowfish!” A classic line (I am an Oasis fan, but the analogy is so true). Bell currently plays guitar for Liam Gallagher’s post Oasis band Beady Eye.

— Jim McCabe

 Track listing

All songs written and composed by Ride.

  1. “Seagull” – 6:09
  2. “Kaleidoscope” – 3:01
  3. “In a Different Place” – 5:29
  4. “Polar Bear” – 4:45
  5. “Dreams Burn Down” – 6:04
  6. “Decay” – 3:35
  7. “Paralysed” – 5:34
  8. “Vapour Trail” –  4:18

Bonus tracks (US Version)

  1. “Taste” – 3:17
  2. “Here and Now” – 4:26
  3. “Nowhere” – 5:23
  4. “Unfamiliar” – 5:03
  5. “Sennen” – 4:23
  6. “Beneath” – 4:06
  7. “Today” – 6:26

Personnel

  •  Mark Gardener – vocals, guitar
  • Andy Bell – vocals, guitar and piano
  • Steve Queralt – bass
  • Laurence Colbert – drums

Links


Posted by Larry Carta


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