Legendary shoegazers Ride first reformed back in 2014, but Weather Diaries is their first studio album since 1996’s Tarantula. That album, pretty much released simultaneously with their dissolution, came out on Creation. Ride had been Creation’s first chart-bothering act, but one has to wonder how many of their label mates felt put into the shade when Oasis went, umm, supersonic in 1994.
Ask Ride fans what their favourite album is, and people will still staunchly defend one album over another. For my money, their debut Nowhere is still their best, and the first four EPs (Ride, Play, Fall and Today Forever) that were released around that. It’s telling that this album’s opening track ‘Lannoy Point’ sounds like it could have been from Ride’s first twelve months.
The first four tracks are strong, and ‘All I Want’ and ‘Home Is A Feeling’ have already been released building up to the albums. It’s reminiscent of how Ride were always capable of rocking or jangling, rather than simply producing the shoegazing journalistic sonic cathedrals of sound. The album’s been produced by Erol Alkan, who’s done a fantastic job of it.
What is disappointing, though, is that it feels that the album does drop a bit when it reaches the title track, perhaps the weakest point on the album. It does seem to take a while to pick up again. There has been some criticism that the album hasn’t been sequenced in the best way – the closing track ‘White Sands’ somehow feels like an odd finish; while it’s beautiful, it doesn’t seem to feel like a proper ending.
However, this is a comeback album that mostly succeeds. While it may not win them huge quantities of new fans, it will certainly delight the many who fell for them all those years ago.