Originally Written and Posted at Epinions.com on 9/3/08.
Following the releases of the band's first two EPs Ride and Play, Ride were becoming the critics darling in the burgeoning shoegaze music scene. Along with bands like My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Slowdive, and Chapterhouse, Ride were the most famous next to My Bloody Valentine. In the early fall of 1990, Ride released the Fall EP to more critical acclaim as the four tracks on that record would end up being in the band's first full-length released entitled Nowhere.
Written and performed by Ride and produced by Mark Waterman, Nowhere is an album filled with Ride's swirling guitar work, break-pace rhythms, the dream-like vocals of singer/guitarist Mark Gardener and guitarist/vocalist Andy Bell. With a unique rhythm section in the form of bassist Steve Queralt and drummer Laurence Colbert, the album would be the definitive sound of Ride. The result is one of the genre's most landmark recordings.
The six-minute album opener Seagull arrives with Steve Queralt's bouncy bass lines and Laurence Colbert's cymbal tapping before going through the blazing, fast-paced rhythm and blaring twin guitars of Mark Gardener and Andy Bell. With its washy guitars and fuzz-drone noises, Gardener and Bell sings the song's dream-like lyrics through their evocative harmonies that matches the noisy guitars that swirl through the song. Kaleidoscope is a more upbeat song with chiming guitar washes and upbeat, pounding rhythms with bouncy melodies as Gardener and Bell sing through the song's psychedelic, imagery-laden lyrics. With its droning and shimmering guitar chimes and fuzz, it's a more accessible song than its opener.
In A Different Place is a slow yet thunderous song led by Colbert's bass-pounding drums and guitar arpeggio chimes as Andy Bell sings the song with his smooth, dream-like vocal. With a chorus filled with blazing, noise-driven guitar washes, the song emphasizes on its dream-like verse and noise-laden chorus structure. Polar Bear is a shimmering, heart-pounding song led by its washy guitars and crashing cymbals as Mark Gardener sings with a more lower-octave tenor than Bell's higher-pitched dream-like vocals filled with descriptive, dream-like lyrics. With the bass and drums intensifying as is the chiming guitar swirls, the song becomes a full-on jam as it crosses between dream-like and noise. Dreams Like Burn, from the Fall EP, is a powerful, mid-tempo song with Colbert's hard-hitting drums and fierce guitar work layered with arpeggio and blazing noise. Led by Bell's dream-like vocals and dark lyrics, the song starts out dreamy until a noisy instrumental of guitars come in.
Decay starts off with Colbert's pounding bass drum that's followed by a guitar melody and Queralt's bass line as Bell sings through the song's dark lyrics with his evocative vocals. Then the guitars blazes with Bell and Gardener singing the chorus as it becomes more intense in its performance and presentation. Paralysed is a dreamier, arpeggio-laden song with acoustic flourishes and slow, thunderous rhythms as Mark Gardener sings the song's hazy lyrics led by his vocals. With its washy, noise-driven guitars in the chorus and instrumental coda, it's another example of the band's blend of dream-like textures and noise. The famed single Vapour Trail with its washy guitars, break-beat rhythms, and Mark Gardener's evocative vocals is one of the album's highlights. With its dreamy, descriptive lyrics, it's easily one of the best songs of the genre that includes some bouncy bass lines and a cello solo in the background.
The next three tracks come from the Fall EP with Taste being the first as the bass-pounding song with upbeat rhythms and swirling guitars lead the way. With Bell's more high-pitched, dream-like vocals, the song is filled with rollicking beats by Colbert and twin guitar attacks from Bell and Gardener. Here And Now is a mid-tempo track with rumbling beats and arpeggio-laden guitars with a harmonica playing in the background. With Gardener's vocals driving the song with its smooth, dream-like presentation, it's a great song with its layers of melodies and jam-like musicianship. The album's closer is its brooding title track arrives with its slow yet noise-laden guitars as it plays in a dark tone with Gardener's eerie vocals. With its soft yet hollow beats and low bass lines along with shimmering, ringing guitars. It's a haunting closer for the entire album.
In the 2001 remastered version comes four bonus tracks from the Today Forever EP that followed Nowhere. Produced by Alan Moulder, famous for his work on My Bloody Valentine's Loveless album, the EP starts off with Unfamiliar. The song starts off with bouncy rhythms and hard-hitting snares with shimmering and arpeggio guitars layered with Alan Moulder's crisp production. With Andy Bell's dream-like vocals, the song with its hazy lyric is the epitome of dreamy-noisy pop music thanks in part to Moulder's production. Sennen is a slower, melodic-laden track with washy guitars and smoother beats as it plays like an acoustic track of sorts. With its dream-like guitar washes and the evocative harmonies of Bell and Gardener, it's an excellent track from the band.
Beneath is an upbeat, rumbling track with bouncy melodies and rhythms with Bell and Gardener singing the song with chiming guitar melodies as Colbert's drums pound and rollick through. With its dreamy lyrics, the song is filled with the swirling guitars and washy performance. The closing track Today is a six-and-a-half minute ballad with washy guitars and Gardener's dream-like vocals leading the way with its hazy, elegant lyrics. With a droning guitar solo in the background, the rest of the instrument comes in as it intensifies with its hypnotic, dream-like presentation.
Released in October of 1990, the album was a critical favorite as it was considered to be the great album of the shoegaze album until a year later when My Bloody Valentine released Loveless. Today, Nowhere is considered to be one of shoegaze's finest moments as it's often considered to be the best shoegaze album ever made that wasn't by My Bloody Valentine. Fans of the shoegaze genre must pick up Nowhere for its swirling guitar work, dream-like presentation, and rollicking musicianship. This is definitely the best album Ride has ever put as they remain one of Britain's most overlooked acts.
Ride Albums: Going Blank Again - Smile - (Carnival of Light) - (Tarantula) - (OX4: The Best of Ride)
(C) thevoid99 2011