Essential New Music: Ride’s “Weather Diaries”

A lot can happen in 21 years. A newborn can legally drink; a community organizer can become president; and a band whose principals split on non-speaking terms can reunite and sound as if they never parted. Such is the story of Oxford shoegazer quartet Ride, whose final album, 1996’s creative low-water-mark Tarantula, gave zero indicators that there was any gas left in the tank. (One founding guitarist, Mark Gardener, tried both band and solo work before becoming a farmer in France; the other, Andy Bell, became the bass player in Oasis in a “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” move for the ages.)

The band’s original four members are all back in the fold, and Weather Diaries finds them rejuvenated and in top form. “Charm Assault” and “Home Is A Feeling,” the first two singles, feature a cathedral of Ride’s signature chiming guitars, while the title track and the stately, hypnotic “Impermanence” serve as reminders that some of the group’s finest moments were as much about exploring the infinite confines of inner space as the far reaches of outer space. Not every track kills—“Rocket Silver Symphony” fails to achieve liftoff—but this is an album squarely in the spirit of the band’s underrated mid-period venture Carnival Of Light, a classic-rock record with none of the baggage that phrase might imply.

–Corey duBrowa