Now the Moth Club knows what it’s like to fly into one of those electrified flycatchers. An onslaught of torrential noise like a tech-rock My Bloody Valentine bursts and glitches from the speakers, a side door opens and the modest musical malcontents of Ride emerge to begin the demolition in earnest. They’re here for a low-key preview of ‘Future Love’ – the first single from their second reunion album ‘This Is Not A Safe Place’ which they blast out straight off, as comfortingly visceral as a fire in Heaven’s attic – but also to brush up on “the old bangers” for a South American tour starting in two days’ time. While they’re at it, they inadvertently remind us what rebel music really sounds like.
There was always a deep frustration in the collapse of first-era Ride. That they’d want to follow a record album as monumental and mind-expanding as 1992’s ‘Going Blank Again’ with something as ordinary as country rock on ‘94’s ‘Carnival Of Light’, and that it all fell apart before they corrected their course. For too long Andy Bell was wasted in the backrooms of Oasis and Mark Gardener made for an ill-fitting acoustic troubadour. Because, as the full, brutal/beautiful force of up-close Ride Mk2 proves, together they can make brain-melting music that utterly belies the cliche of shoegaze bands as mimsy bedsheet-dampeners – these are space rock screes as violent and merciless as any Endgame – and puts the modern pro-pop ‘alternative’ to shame. Were they here to witness Ride’s molten eruptions from the depths of the leftfield, Pale Waves would be as embarrassed to call themselves indie rock as Change UK declaring yet another racist MEP candidate.
It wouldn’t be the NME if everyone due for criticism wasn’t given a kick in the eye on their way out the door. I get the reference to Pale Waves, but what else is new? Don’t call it a reunion anymore. When a band comes back together for a one-off album and tour, that’s a reunion. When you come back for multiple tours, a second album of original material after putting out a remix record and an EP, you are officially just another working band making a go of it.
Ride are one of the hottest tickets in Europe this summer, and they are set to release a new album, This is Not a Safe Place.
Instead of cashing in, they’re making vital new music that is in touch with the times. Instead of looking back, they’re looking forward and they’re on their way to a town near you.