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4.6 out of 5 stars9
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'Smile' was originally released in 1991 on import, collecting together Ride's first two e.p.'s released on Creation records in 1990 - 'Ride' and 'Play.'
These were both fantastic e.p.'s - a format that was destroyed in this country when the BPI hit on the notion of three-track singles in the late 90s (...I wonder why singles sales have reduced???). The 'Ride' e.p. opens with 'Chelsea Girl', a bursting pop-thrash that collides early House of Love with the feedback excess of My Bloody Valentine - the title I assume nods to the Nico album of the same name? Next up is one of Ride's greatest songs and a live favourite - 'Drive Blind' - which sounds like a collision of 'Autobahn' (lyrically), Black Sabbath, 'Pictures of Matchstick Men' and Sonic Youth. The feedback section in the middle got extended more and more as live shows went on resulting in the 'Motorway Madness' sequence that almost appeared on 'Going Blank Again.'
'All I Can See' again recalls the early work of the House of Love, perhaps with a hint of Echo & the Bunnymen's 'Heaven Up Here'? The 'Ride' e.p. and first half of 'Smile' concluding on 'Close My Eyes', a song that was dropped at some point in 1990 but found itself resurrected for the Reading 1992 set (see the 'OX4' box-set) and at Ride's Royal Albert Hall concert circa 'Carnival of Light.' 'Close My Eyes' is a gorgeous song, one to comedown from after partying ("Last night I had such a good time...but there's a price to pay") - a soundtrack to those teen years where things become wild and you feel slightly immortal. As naively lovely as Beat Happening's 'Indian Summer' & something of a mantra as Andy Bell and Mark Gardener repeat " close my eyes..." as the band fire up a storm. They really ought to reform and play material like this rather than the so-so retro of the last two albums!!!
'Play' was released in Spring of 1990, creating a music press buzz around them - both 'Play' and 'Ride' had iconic, anonymous covers that were a feature of the band until 1994. Opener 'Like a Daydream' feels like a collision of The Byrds and mid-80s Husker Du - coming from a similar place that the Du's covers of 'Eight Miles High' and 'Ticket to Ride' came from (alongside Du-originals like 'Green Eyes', 'Makes No Sense At All' & 'Games'). 'Like a Daydream' is one of Ride's great pop songs alongside 'Chelsea Girl', 'Taste', 'Vapour Trail', 'Making Judy Smile' & 'Twisterella.' Next up is 'Silver', which some considered the worst track on the e.p.- some may have thought 'I'm Fine Thanks' or 'Smile' (found on the box-set) should have been included instead. I always liked it - a Mary Chain-style dirge that is attempting to be subtle - which is something hard to do with feedback! I'm sure out of it the track 'nowhere' was birthed - as that explores a similar sonic terrain...
'furthest sense' brings life back to the e.p. (perhaps 'silver' is wrong cos it's not very spring-like - maybe should have been swapped with 'fall's 'here and now'? Minor detail I know!!) prior to the feedback drenched thrash 'Perfect Time' which vanished from Ride's live-set after 1990 to be resurrected alongside a shorter 'Drive Blind' for their Brixton Academy set that made it on video.
'Smile' is an excellent compilation of those two vital e.p.s Ride released prior to the 'Fall' and 'Nowhere' releases - perhaps it should be reissued with 'I'm Fine Thanks', 'Smile' and their covers of 'Eight Miles High' & 'European Son' included?
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on 27 November 2001
In the beginning there was Smile, and it was good. Charting the reasonably short lived pop phenomenon of dream pop can be a hit and miss affair, but for those discerning ears and eclectic tastes there can be only one band that encapsulates the feel, the ability and the power of the early 90's guitar bands. Ride.
Smile is not really an album and actually represents a compilation of their first two Creation EP's. The CD kicks off with 'Chelsea Girl', an excellent hook driven song that gets the head nodding from the start. Next up the masterful 'Drive Blind'. The song that many Ride fans would class as the best track the band ever penned. A guitar line of harmonic grace that sears through your mind and blows apart once the dynamics of the tracks kicks in a few bars later. This is truly a classic of timeless proportions. Track 4, 'Close my eyes', is the personal favourite here. Lyrics that tell an all too familiar story, guitars that cut and soothe at the same time and harmonies that lift through verse to a hypnotic ending. 'Like a day dream', was the first track from the second Ride EP, which crashes in with mind-blowing power and demonstrates the professional use of timing and dynamics that set the band apart from it's peers.
The 8 Track mini-album closes with the sweet refrain of 'Perfect Time', leaving the listener with a satisfied and complete hunger to acquaint themselves with more of the Oxford four-pieces' work.
Indeed many musicians would puzzle over how a relatively inexperienced and innocent band could produce such a mature and proficient recording on their first trip out?
If there were one criticism of the Smile EP, it would be that occasionally there is a minor deterioration in sound quality and production, when compared with later works such as 'Going Blank Again' and 'Carnival of Light'. But, believe me when I say that the quality of writing and of performance, make this EP a must have commodity and the rawness of the recording only lends itself to the feel of this dynamic and underrated masterpiece.
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on 9 December 2001
what a marvellous bunch of dreamers Ride were. this minialbum represents their personality at the top. sweet, out of time and sufferings, they weren't fresh and joyfull but youth and gloomy. Songs like close my eyes and drive blind are so claustrofobic and massive that you can imagine them well aware of their strenght. althouth the press descrebed them as blank and impersonal this albun shows that they had the idea of what they were building. they wanted to go nowhere and their music (hear chelsea girl)represents the caos of the new psychedelic wave, something very difficult to manege with, something pure and hard.
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on 11 January 2002
this is a great start for ride,my top tracks are drive blind(best ever),close my eyes,chelsea girl and furthest sense.the guitar playing is exciting and drums is a fairly demoish sounding mix but in a way it adds to the whole experience.chill out with this album!
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 26 August 2001
The e.p. is now a dead form, thanks to record companies pressure to reduce the amount of tracks & duration of a 12"/cd single to 20 minutes.
Ride came from an era when the EP/single was vital: Stone Roses, MBV, Cocteau Twins, The Smiths and these e.p.'s are great works in themselves.
The 'Ride' ep opens with 'Chelsea Girl' (which I imagine to be an allusion to the Warhol film/Nico record rather than Simple Minds song/high street clothes shop), a tuneful guitar thrash "taking you for a ride...". Think of 'Destroy the Heart' meets 'You Made Me Realise' and you're close...'Drive Blind' is next and offers a classic riff- as good as The Smiths 'How Soon is Now?' or anything on Screaming Trees 'Dust'. It's lyrics are like Kraftwerk's 'Autobahn', only stoned and assimilated by waves of feedback. Possibly Ride's best song, delivering that aching melancholy as moments seem to pass...'All I can See' sounds very Bunnymen, if they had heard 'Isn't Anything?' and is followed by the sublime 'Close my Eyes'. This song is very concerned with the end- of a day? of a moment? of good and bad times?- it ends possibly the best debut ever!
The final tracks are from Spring 1990's 'Play', which flirted with Smiths/Wildean imagery. 'Like a Daydream' was described as The Byrds covered by Husker Du and is great as ever. 'Silver' is a gloomy number, a fragile song in the mode of 'All I need' (MBV) & 'Just like Honey' (Mary Chain). 'Furthest Sense' brings a pulse back to proceedings with an aching bassline- and 'Perfect Time' ends it all with a 'Chelsea Girl'/'Bluebird' sonic thrash...
And there you have it, two classic e.p.'s...a great historical document featuring the best song of all time, 'Drive Blind'.
Purchase. Play. Smile...
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on 7 April 2015
This is a compilation of Ride's first two E.P'S and is a work in progress effort for me, but they were clearly heading in a positive direction, worth a listen but contains no moments of greatness.
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on 6 November 1999
This CD is a collection of Ride's first two EP's.Angry guitars and airy harmonies are the order of the day.There is a good range of songs from the slower "Drive Blind" to the classic pop of "Like a Daydream",but the crown jewel in this collection is "Close my eyes" a true classic.I would recommend this CD to any fans of guitar pop.
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on 19 February 2004
This album should be hailed as a shining example of truley great british talent, forget the fact that Andy Bell sold out, first letting the sun use one of his songs for advertising purposes or for the even bigger crime of joining two bit Chaz and Dave covers band Oasis, but back in the day Ride Rocked, (all be it is a slow depressing Indie Shoe gazing kind of way.)
This was of course before they started claiming individual song writing credits, all songs were written by ride. There is a nievety about this album that spreads out from that ideal of togetherness, this is a bunch of school kids let loose in the studio. The guitars are cranked up to 11, and then those guitars are played, its raw in a under produced way, the soft Harmonies of Bell and Gardener are at a juxtoposition to the clatter and feed back from the guitars, Loz batters away at the drums under pinning the album without going over the top.
Ok so there is an element of White middle class boys from Oxford whinning out the bleakness of the universe. (Hello Radiohead.)But it doesn't seem to matter here because of the genuine qualtiy of the songs.
The Three EP's (Minus of course Today Forever, which ironically was the finest moment) represented here is a joyous begining of a band that like many of there contemporaries (Northside etc) had the talent but not the luck or balls to make it big. Drive Blind is my fav, but any of these songs should be classics, I know you have probabley read a lot of reviews where people say exactly the same thing, (People have even said it about Elastica believe it or not!) But this band had talant and more to the point at least for this album they had the courage to do it their way. Yes it is depressing Sometimes slow and the production seemed to have been done my a chimp but, they rocked.
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on 15 January 2016
very good
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