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Find Yourself Dizzy, Dazed After Listening to ‘Interplay’

Ride still running strong after 36 years
It’s easy to fall in love with the album’s distinct tracks and amazing instrumentation, but the lyrics buried beneath the massive reverb make it hard to fully appreciate certain tracks.
Rating: A-
Photo Credit: Wichita Recordings

Filled to the brim with dizzying vocals and synthesized instrumentation, Ride’s newest album “Interplay” adds tried and true combinations to their discography. Their music style is defined by its psychedelic, nostalgic, and rock vibe. The band Ride formed in Oxford, England in 1988 and is still pumping out instant classics nearly four decades later. Headed by guitarist and vocalist Andy Bell and Mark Gardner in combination with drummer Loz Colbert and bassist Steve Queralt, Ride’s album “Interplay” is their third since their reunion in 2014 after a nearly two-decade hiatus.

Each of their albums is a time capsule that gives the listener a taste of the 1970s, and “Interplay” is no exception. With songs like “Peace Sign,” they create a hazy, yet upbeat mood that incites images of beaded necklaces, flower crowns, and peaceful protests. The combination of folksy guitar and slow-burn vocals juxtaposed by synth instrumentation brought together two vastly different decades in a pleasing way. It was so immersive that I could see laser beams lighting up the room and flowers falling from the ceiling. 

My favorite track, “Monaco”, was perfect late-night drive music which instantly created a sea-breeze mood. It’s incredibly interesting how the light-hearted guitar riffs and dreamy vocals bury strong undertones of rebellion and despair often associated with 60s and 70s British rock. “Monaco” has lyrics like “This hope or despair, who devised all this torment?/Who’s ringing in the backward bell?/Peripheral vision rise up all lain dormant/Fight before your strength is frail.” Similar themes are found in the album’s other tracks, such as “Essaouria”, “Final Frontier”, and “Portland Rocks.” The rebellious tones stir up discontent feelings while providing listeners with a nice contrast between the darker messages and bright instrumentation.

While I came to appreciate the album’s nostalgic feel, the sound mixing left much to be desired in terms of vocal and instrumental volume. Deep and hearty bridge lyrics like “When the morning comes, I’m always out of time/Reaching for the pieces I left inside my mind/My cards are all laid out, I’m waiting for a sign/From the other side or maybe in mine” from “Last Night I Went Somewhere To Dream” are buried beneath reverb, and so it’s hard to appreciate the contemplative lyrics squished between the song’s repetitive chorus.I found myself listening to this album on repeat, despite my distaste for the muddy vocals because of the impressive guitar and bass instrumentals. I was excited to find out that the guitarist Andy Bell was previously the lead guitarist in Oasis, one of my favorite bands. I instantly recognized parallels between the guitar styles, layered and rhythmic, and this made the listening experience all the more enjoyable. 

In all, “Interplay” lives up to my expectations and has continued Ride’s legacy of atmospheric music. This album is perfect if you want to travel to another time and experience the music of a bygone decade. Despite my issues with the mix, “Interplay” is a great album whose instrumentation more than makes up for everything. Ride’s newest album was quite the ride and I look forward to listening to their other albums.

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