You can’t always get what you expect. Quoting the famous Rolling Stones song, it gives the sense of the misunderstanding around Weather Diaries, the last release from Ride, one of the brilliant points of reference of shoegaze scene in the nineties.
With the masterpiece Nowhere, an impressive connection between the dreamy and noisy souls of shoegaze, they took their right place in the music history with Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. Up in the charts and with good reviews, they filled up the scene with their powerful walls of guitars and feedbacks, and the britpop connections.
After 15 years Ride came back with a new album, Weather Diaries; and what did people expect from them? A new pure shoegaze album. Here is the misunderstanding: a good collection of songs, it is not shoegaze. The focus is more on atmospheres lines, on underlining the riffs, on the vocals. It is more a britpop opera, with a couple of excellent songs and an attempt to find a new attitude.
“Lannoy Point” is full of tension, one of my favorite songs of the year, while “Charm Assault” is airy (with that chatchy refrain); “Home is a feeling” is dreamy enough but predictable, “Weather Diaries” is slow with no surprises.
The second part is more far from shoegaze rules: “White Sands” could be a Radiohead song, with its several changes of tone and direction; “Impermanence” is a classic dilated track, “Cali” is an interesting experiment of Beatles sounds drawn in a sea of guitars.
The present of Ride is made of these songs and the message seems to be “you will not find us in the dreamy side of pop”. Sure they still have the urgency to write and share good music. If it is enough for you, “enjoy the Ride”.