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’s a fervour that was artfully resurrected on 2017’s comeback album ‘Weather Diaries’, represented tonight by a ‘Lannoy Point’ that bobs along on Cure curlicues like a Saturn Rover, and ‘Charm Assault’, a frenzied ‘Charm Assault’ resembling an early MBV fuzzchord pile-up and ‘All I Want’, an avalanche of sound built around a hook made from glitching sampled vocals, which has the fingerprints of producer Erol Alkan all over it. The last is also a commentary on the right-rising political climate (“It’s not a pretty picture, this is 1932,” Mark deadpans), a theme continued in the other track from the new album premiered tonight, ‘Kill Switch’. With its menacing march, its talk of warfare and a chorus that hits like a WMD, it’s further proof that Ride are crafting themselves a new genre: newsgazing.
It’s when the post-Roses bassline and shoey squeal of ‘Seagull’ strikes up and the room comes alive, though, that you start to realise why every NME review in the early ‘90s read like Noel Fielding’s brain on military strength Ecstasy. If ‘Seagull’ doesn’t sound like a zombie ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ eating the brains of ‘Daytripper’ I don’t know what does. ‘Dreams Burn Down’ just is the sound of an ice stadium getting bombed by flying water tankers, trust me. Oceanic classics like ‘Chrome Waves’ and ‘Vapour Trail’ are euphoria bottled; pop rampages like ‘Twisterella’ and ‘Taste’ are sheer melodic freefalls. ‘Leave Them All Behind’ is ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ blasting through space having cryogenic nightmares and ‘In A Different Place’ is definitely the sound of stardust sweat glistening on God’s balls after a hard day ejaculating galaxies. It is.
“In the early days we used to play the first song again at the end,” Andy declares as Ride pile back into ‘Future Love’ for a second time, strapping their exultant past to their exuberant present. This Ride’s far from over…