I remember being a little unimpressed at this album when it came out- having seen Ride several times & been blown away by the experience it seemed they hadn't lived up to the promise of early e.p.'s or their live sound...I was wrong...This record sounds great today- its influences obviously Creation labelmates The House of Love & My Bloody Valentine (and perhaps early Echo & Bunnymen, The Cure, Spacemen 3 & Sonic Youth...)
Ride were great- primal guitar explosions on a par with anything by Husker Du from 'New Day Rising' to 'Warehouse'. Just add a hint of the Smiths and you have a classic band!
'Seagull' is the decimating opener- Buffalo Springfield play 'Psycho Candy'- it is followed by 'Kaleidoscope', another Mark Gardener doomy pop song in the mode of 'Taste'. 'In a different Place' is an Andy Bell song reaching for a space in which to define love- and recalls 'Goodbye & Helo' Tim Buckley (if Loop backed him)...'Polar Bear' often opened concerts & builds up in a style close to the Pixies covering 'Disintergration'. While 'Dreams Burn Down' nods towards Led Zep's 'When the Levee Breaks' (precipitating the retro-influences that made Ride less interesting following 'Going Blank Again')- 'Decay' is a gnarly slab of guitars. A morose downer, very 'Daydream Nation' or 'Metal Postcard'. 'Paralysed' hints at ambition and the urge to explore vaster songs; it gives way to 'Vapour Trail'- the single that never was. Oh, a jingly-jangly classic, with falling strings; it sounds like an English summer sky in 1990. It is the sound of youth & falling in love & illicit substances & the gigantic optimism of 1990 (the wall had come down, people were experimenting, dance & rock were fusing. Sadly Yugoslavia & the Gulf War were about to occur).
The extra tracks are from the 'Fall' e.p.- the hit 'Taste' (a relative of 'She Bangs the Drums' or 'God knows it's true')is a Byrds-inflected number. Very 'Younger than Yesterday'. 'Here & Now' is even better, Andy Bell's postcard of the present is given some melancholic harmonica. The final track, 'Nowhere', often destroyed live- is more sombre here. The sound is between 'Pornography'- Cure & 'Dub Housing'-Pere Ubu. Oh, it all sounds a bit teenage now- but so do Rimbaud & Nick Drake! It ends on the album on uncertainty- "all that's left is you & me/and here we are/nowhere".
A classic debut- and proof that Creation was more than just the label that spawned Oasis.