Ride – Interplay

Perhaps the best album yet of their mighty second arc...

While much ink has been spilled on the current TikTok-enabled shoegaze resurgence, talk of the algorithm ignores one thing – much of the original generation are still making fantastic music. Ride’s second act is a case in point: refusing to dwell on the past, the band tap back into their unique sound while producing fresh, engaging material. 2019’s ‘This Is Not A Safe Place’ rose to fresh heights, but with new album ‘Interplay’ the band seem to have moved past even this high-water mark.

Opener ‘Peace Sign’ feels like a real statement of intent. The propulsive beat – Loz Colbert always felt akin to the shoegaze Mitch Mitchell, after all – matched to those chiming guitars, at once so redolent of the 60s but also fresh, and undoubtedly pop. Layers of synths permeate the song, echoing guitarist Andy Bell’s solo work as GLOK, while also nodding to the neck-snapping directness of their own ‘Taste’.

The Editors-style gothic grandeur of ‘Last Frontier’ is worth adoring, before the album lets the tempo drop a little for the palatial ‘Light In A Quiet Room’. The tightly-wound mid-section arc displays Ride’s live prowess, each musician shining amid the aesthetic unity across a flurry of inventive audio elan. ‘Last Night I Went Somewhere To Dream’ is hugely subtle, while the offbeat 80s tinged ‘Monaco’ finds the group unafraid to express their melodic side.

Aptly named, ‘Interplay’ highlights different aspects of Ride’s musicality, while injecting fresh aspects. Take the luxuriant strings on ‘Sunrise Chaser’, or the way ‘Essaouira’ bubbles outward in rivulets of sound. Closing with the sighing reflection of ‘Yesterday Is Just A Song’, Ride seem to be embrace and move past their illustrious past, resulting in one of the most finessed, intriguing albums of their career to date.

8/10

Words: Robin Murray

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