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June 2020
Album review

Ride - This is Not a Safe Place

Ride continue to pave the way within shoegaze.
Label: Wichita Recordings
Released: 16th August 2019
Rating: ★★★★
Ride - This is Not a Safe Place
Published: 11:41 am, August 14, 2019Words: Charlotte Croft.

Shoegazers Ride are still riding the post-reunion wave, with the release of their sixth LP, ‘This Is Not A Safe Place’. The quartet teamed up with London-based DJ, Erol Alkan once more to produce their latest offering, having worked together on their fifth album, ‘Weather Diaries’. His influence could previously be detected in tracks such as ‘All I Want’, bridging the gap between rock and electronic, and aspects of this trickle through ‘This Is Not A Safe Place’; however, the Oxford four-piece don’t shy away from the scuzzy guitar work they’re known for. 

Lead single, ‘Future Love’, has a surf pop sheen to it, echoing melodies from Danish duo, The Raveonettes. “I see you / Are we drunk on morning dew? / 'Cause I can't say your name / But you've got me going / Yeah, you've got me going”, coo Mark Gardener and Andy Bell, bringing back their distinct harmonies. ‘Future Love’ is full of optimism, and is a refreshing alternative to the dreary exterior of much shoegaze, and openly discusses the euphoria of a relationship starting out, where everything seems possible.

Hopeful harmonies continue in ‘Clouds of Saint Marie’, this time juxtaposed by lyrics that sway towards the passing of a relationship, and the memories that soon become cloudy. ‘15 Minutes’ also shares a similar arc, but less harmonious and harsher, paired with scuzzy strings and vexed vocals. At times ‘Jump Jet’ mirrors New Order’s merge of new wave and electronic, so much so, the vocals resemble Bernard Sumner, while ‘Eternal Recurrence’, is slower-paced, similar to ‘Nowhere’s’, ‘Dreams Burn Down’, but with a more hazy hue. 

Ride have been building their legacy since 1988, and are continuing to pave the way within shoegaze, as well as forming a modern mould to their songwriting and style. The harmony of Ride is palpable throughout - from the lyrics to the melodies, shoegaze never sounded so happy.

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