Just as the ’90s were beginning, I was making the transition from life as a broke college student to that of a broke graduate. The things I enjoyed most from the ’80s like the big majestic atmospherics of the “4AD style” were starting to effect the industry as a whole. Suddenly bands (mostly British) were looking backward with a sound that was reminiscent of the ’60s, yet embodied the new pessimism of the shoeguaze movement and more than a hint of the classic early ’80s 4AD sound.
After years of slowly building a devoted fan base, well established bands like the Cure and the Cocteau Twins thrived in this environment. They represented two polar opposites of the movement. Somewhere in-between a growing faction of young musicians with the sound of 1968 and the look of the new decade were starting to make waves on both sides of the Atlantic.
One of those bands was the British band Ride. Their sound was in some ways not unlike the Stone Roses, another English band who’s retro sound was rising on the charts. Ride was a more sublime creation. The band’s debut album Nowhere set new standards for the fuzzy twin guitar effects sound (that was not from U2 or The Alarm) that was rooted in the past.
The big atmospheric sound with plenty of re-verb complimented lead vocalist Mark Gardner’s almost flat voice. It was a juxtaposition that was both low key and muted yet exciting. This placid environment was occasionally shattered by big wall of noise guitar melodies as in “Dreams Burn Down”.
As the fundamental beginnings of the grunge movement was beginning in America, the shoeguaze movement in England was being relegated to the background. The emergence of Brit Pop, finally announced England’s answer to grunge, putting the shoegauzing movement with its contemplative songs on the back burner.
Just as Ride had helped define the movement, it tried to adapt to the changing soundscape. By 1995 their new sound alienated many fans resulting in them moved on moving on to other champions of despair. It might explain why after the band disbanded in 1995, Steve Queralt it’s bassist would go on to help form Oasis, the biggest BritPop band of the ’90s.
Interest in Ride persists today due to the persistent popularity of shoegauzing music. Recently the band has performed at a number of concerts like Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the spring of 2015.