Ride – This Is Not a Safe Place
Shoegaze pioneers Ride return with their second LP in as many years with an eye on breaking shoegaze into the pop landscape
My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride – the trifecta of shoegaze royalty. Ride were the more immediately likeable of the trio, less inward, willing to play about with styles divorced from the reverb-laden effects that were a signifier of the scene. With This Is Not a Safe Place, Ride’s second full-length record in as many years, they look to breach the shores of what they consider safe and reach out for uncharted waters.
Opening with R.I.D.E., one of the best, and strangest, songs the band have put their name to; a chunky, swirling dance remix of a shoegaze song. Future Love and Repetition are where this record’s manifesto is laid out plainly. The former, a jangly pop song with Marr-esque guitars; the latter, a mess of a song, but also one that works. It’s a shame that this willingness to experiment doesn’t hold up as the record goes on. Clouds of Saint Marie is by-the-numbers dream-pop, Eternal Recurrence seems drawn through the prism of cock-rock, while Dial Up and Shadows Behind the Sun feel like weightless ballads.
Ride’s legacy is set in stone, but, in the end, most of This Is Not a Safe Place is not as wildly contentious in its desire to be different. After a strong start, more of that risk would have been welcome.
Listen to: Future Love, Repetition, R.I.D.E.