“We thought we’d be forgotten, the whole musical style of the movement, the shoe gazing thing; it was sweet while it lasted but we thought no one would remember it in a year or two years’ time,” Steve Queralt, bass player with Ride, recently told the YEP.
The 1,500 or so gathered at Leeds Academy on Sunday would clearly beg to differ. Two decades on from Ride’s mid-Nineties demise it seems there are a lot of people who still hold a candle for introspective alt-rock wreathed in guitar effects and occasionally bolstered by bursts of feedback and distortion.
The reformed Oxford quartet are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut album Nowhere by dedicating the second half of their current setlist to it (the first half being a kind of greatest hits).
Yet while recreating the record from beginning to end may be interesting from a nostalgic point of view, its best songs – the incendiary Dreams Burn Down and the evocative Vapour Trail – only show up how wispy much of the rest of their songwriting was at that early stage in their career.
No amount of Sonic Youth-inspired guitar wig-outs can compensate for the dearth of decent melodies in songs such as In a Different Place or Decay.
Mark Gardener’s psychedelic number Taste, from Ride’s third EP, still holds up, thanks to its poppy chorus, but the harmonica-drenched Here and Now is monotonous.
While Ride can certainly be forgiven for wanting to enjoy a trip down memory lane, here’s hoping that they can push on from here and start work on new material soon to make this reunion a more long term proposition.