Music

Ride Struggle to Find a New Identity on 'Tomorrow's Shore'

Publicity photo via Bandcamp

The latest from the British indie icons is an EP of material recorded during the sessions of last year's Weather Diaries, and it feels just as confused and inconsistent as its predecessor.

Tomorrow's Shore
Ride

Wichita Recordings

16 Feb 2018

Ride's reunion is something of a redemption story, though newer fans may not know just how far the band fell before they split up. Growing out of the shoegaze boom in the UK in the late '80s and early '90s, Ride produced two of the genre's finest albums in Nowhere and Going Blank Again. They skillfully incorporated more overt nods to the psychedelia that always seemed to be bubbling under the surface of most shoegaze stuff, and in doing so created a style that felt more like a rock band than the austere pop of Slowdive or Lush. Then Britpop hit, and Ride cast their lot with the likes of Supergrass and Ocean Colour Scene in an attempt to become the next Oasis (a feat Andy Bell would eventually achieve by joining Oasis in 1999). Thus, Ride were somewhat forgotten despite having produced two masterpieces, so it's nice to see the band enjoying the renewed adulation.

However, it's hard to get excited about the new material Ride have been making. Weather Diaries was largely fine and not as offensively pandering as their late '90s stuff, but it was hardly transcendent in any way. On that record, Ride seemed to be struggling with reconciling their past as a band with a potential way forward, marrying shoegaze, electronica and earthy psychedelia with limited success. Tomorrow's Shore, a collection of songs recorded during the Weather Diaries sessions, arguably goes further towards figuring out Ride's place in the modern musical landscape. In doing so, though, they seem to have lost a bit of what made them so special in the first place.

Ride's overt nods to psychedelia have become a bit more in vogue in the wider rock sphere, with groups like Tame Impala and MGMT finding success in reinterpreting that spacy mysticism for a new generation. To a certain extent, Ride seem to have captured this spirit far more on Tomorrow's Shore than they did on Weather Diaries, which seemed partially stuck in the malaise of modern world. In contrast, we get the starry-eyed "Pulsar", an arena-filling rocker that adds the harsher edge Ride were always able to add to their songs without diving headfirst into macho rock posturing. Even better are the atmospherics the band creates on "Catch You Dreaming", one of the saddest songs in the band's oeuvre and a sure sign of their maturity. This is a band of middle-aged men, after all, and ruminations about the end of the world are far more fitting than the doe-eyed romanticism some fans may still crave. At its best, Tomorrow's Shore gives Ride some options as to what they could be.

Sadly, not everything about Tomorrow's Shore coalesces in a satisfactory manner, and the other two songs on this EP carry the marks of songwriting experiments gone amiss. While some aspects of the revived Ride nod to neo-psychedelia, "Keep It Surreal" settles for aping the aesthetic entirely without any interesting variations or distinct flourishes. Similarly, the psych retread "Cold Water People", where even the slightly dour lyrics can't save a half-baked idea of a song.

Given how inconsequential Tomorrow's Shore could have been, it's a credit to Ride that they put out something with material that equals (and, in some cases, surpasses) what they put out on their reunion record last year. Even so, Ride still struggle with the question of what they are to a music-listening audience in the 2010s. While far from lazy or uninspired, Tomorrow's Shore is still a slightly disappointing work from a once-great band who seem out of their time.

5
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.

Books

New Translation of Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' Captivates

More than just a tale of one man's fall, Balzac's Lost Illusions charts how literature becomes another commodity in a system that demands backroom deals, moral compromise, and connections.

Music

Protomartyr - "Processed by the Boys" (Singles Going Steady)

Protomartyr's "Processed By the Boys" is a gripping spin on reality as we know it, and here, the revolution is being televised.

Music

Go-Go's Bassist Kathy Valentine Is on the "Write" Track After a Rock-Hard Life

The '80s were a wild and crazy time also filled with troubles, heartbreak and disappointment for Go-Go's bass player-guitarist Kathy Valentine, who covers many of those moments in her intriguing dual project that she discusses in this freewheeling interview.

Music

New Brain Trajectory: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree

Two guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree make an album largely absent of guitar playing and enter into a bold new phase of their careers. "We want to take this wherever we can and be free of genre restraints," says Lee Ranaldo.

Books

'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.

Music

Yves Tumor Soars With 'Heaven to a Tortured Mind'

On Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor relishes his shift to microphone caressing rock star. Here he steps out of his sonic chrysalis, dons some shiny black wings and soars.

Music

Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras' tētēma Don't Hit the Mark on 'Necroscape'

tētēma's Necroscape has some highlights and some interesting ambiance, but ultimately it's a catalog of misses for Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras.

Music

M. Ward Offers Comforting Escapism on 'Migration Stories'

Although M. Ward didn't plan the songs on Migration Stories for this pandemic, they're still capable of acting as a balm in these dark hours.

Music

Parsonsfield Add Indie Pop to Their Folk on 'Happy Hour on the Floor'

Happy Hour on the Floor is a considerable departure from Parsonsfield's acclaimed rustic folk sound signaling their indie-pop orientation. Parsonsfield remind their audience to bestow gratitude and practice happiness: a truly welcomed exaltation.

Music

JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.

Music

All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.

Music

Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.

Music

Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.

Music

Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.

Film

'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.

Music

Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.

Books

Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.