Ride – Waves

Album Review by Mark Bayross

Recorded between 1990 and 1994, when Ride rose at lightning speed from darlings of the weekly music press to selling out arena-sized venues at the drop of a hat, WAVES documents the five sessions the band recorded for BBC Radio 1.

Running in chronological order, with John Peel sessions that included early classics like DECAY and LIKE A DAYDREAM, through to the retro-psychedelia of BIRDMAN and CROWN OF CREATION (recorded for Mark Goodier), this makes for an interesting glimpse into how the band sounded raw and stripped of their studio production.

Whether, as guitarist Andy Bell says, these songs “sounded better than their official versions” is true or not (the epic DREAMS BURN DOWN sounds a lot less thrilling without of its wall-of-sound guitars), there is much for Ride fans to enjoy, not least the covers of the Pale Saints’ SIGHT OF YOU (if that doesn’t date the record, nothing will) and Dead Can Dance’s SEVERANCE.

Also of interest are a re-arranged ALL I CAN SEE and SINCE THEN, which later developed into B-side DON’T LET IT DIE. The album finishes with three CARNIVAL OF LIGHT-era tracks broadcast live on Mark Radcliffe’s show, not that you can tell, bar some endearingly flat vocals from Mark Gardener.

Of course, one ill-fated album later (TARANTULA) and it was all over, but not before leaving a legacy that has seen everyone from Oasis to REM, the Smashing Pumpkins to the Chemical Brothers, and the Flaming Lips to Coldplay step up to pay tribute.

Possibly one for fans more than the curious, but there’s still plenty here to get your teeth into. Certainly anyone who bought the OX4 compilation will find it an invaluable accompaniment.

4 stars

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