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Ride - Interplay (Album Review)

Thursday, 11 April 2024 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Cal McIntryre

When Ride began working on their seventh studio album, lockdown was very much a recent memory. When they eventually got together, they found inspiration from different avenues: jamming sessions, demos, backing tracks. With each member contributing significantly, drummer Loz Colbert’s suggestion of ‘Interplay’ as a title proved to be right on the money.

In that spirit, producer Richie Kennedy is another important voice in the room here. With frontman Mark Gardener struggling to juggle all his responsibilities, Kennedy’s input helped shape the record, boldly challenging the seasoned band in a manner that they hadn’t been challenged before. 

Ongoing troubles with an ex-manager also weighed heavily on the band, to the point where it threatened their very existence, according to Gardener. Bassist Steve Queralt has also spoken of the strain the quartet were under when making the record. So ‘Interplay’ has taken time to hit shelves but it is every bit worth the wait. 

Early single Peace Sign opens the album and is an instant fix in the same way Lannoy Point was for their comeback album ‘Weather Diaries’. It’s built around a repetitive Andy Bell guitar riff that quickly embeds itself in the head, as does his lead line from Portland Rocks. Monaco is equally infectious, setting the bar even higher. It’s similar to an upbeat Johnny Marr solo effort, with Gardener diving into the cost of living crisis and the pressures that come with it.

At times, the album slightly echoes other major artists, too. The band have spoken about the influence of 1980s records by Talk Talk, Depeche Mode and Tears For Fears and ‘Interplay’ occasionally reads like the best bits of all of them. Sunrise Chaser clearly has Tears For Fears at its core, as does the simmering Stay Free, where Ride threaten a sense of grandiosity but ultimately keep it in check. The excellent single Last Frontier, though, is more like Lightning Seeds on a psychedelic trip with its perfect chord changes and synth swirls.

Queralt provided the catalyst for the exceptional I Came To See The Wreck with a backing track; it’s a slow, brooding number that hints at New Order’s Touched By The Hand Of God. It is perfect and ready to claim a deserved place among the band’s classics. Another individual contribution underpins Last Night I Went Somewhere To Dream, with Colbert’s mesmerising drum pattern laying the foundations for its suitably ethereal wandering. Another brooding epic, Light In A Quiet Room, eventually explodes in a cacophony of noise in a nod to early career favourite Drive Blind.

Since they reformed in 2014, Ride have now been together for longer than they were originally before their break-up in 1996. Being more mature and able to deal with each other’s quirks has clearly helped them achieve this milestone but, most tellingly, they are now so comfortable that they are knocking out music that is, unbelievably, challenging the seminal double act of ‘Nowhere’ and ‘Going Blank Again’. 

Ride Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon September 02 2024 - BELFAST Limelight
Tue September 03 2024 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Wed September 04 2024 - CORK Cyprus Avenue
Fri September 06 2024 - SHEFFIELD Leadmill
Sat September 07 2024 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Boiler Shop
Sun September 08 2024 - GLASGOW SWG3
Tue September 10 2024 - LIVERPOOL Camp and Furnace
Thu September 12 2024 - LEEDS Beckett Students Union
Fri September 13 2024 - MANCHESTER New Century Hall
Sat September 14 2024 - BRISTOL SWX
Mon September 16 2024 - FALMOUTH princess pavilion
Tue September 17 2024 - PORTSMOUTH Guildhall
Wed September 18 2024 - BRIGHTON Chalk
Fri September 20 2024 - LONDON Roundhouse
Sat September 21 2024 - WOLVERHAMPTON Wulfrun Hall
Sun September 22 2024 - CAMBRIDGE Junction

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