5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An album of two halves,
This review is from: Carnival Of Light (Audio CD)
'Carnival of Light' (title derived from an abandoned play written by Paul McCartney for Jane Asher) appeared after an abscence of two years. Like Spacemen 3's 'Recurring' it is an album of two halves.
The first five songs are the best- written mostly by Mark Gardener (the better vocalist). 'Moonlight Medicine' features Jon Lord from Deep Purple and picks up where 'Leave them all Behind' left off. Its opening sounds very 'Apoclaypse Now!'; '1000 Miles' takes in more of the distance related melancholy of 'OX4' with a 'Mr Spaceman'-riff. 'From Time to Time' is a better attempt at what they attempted on 1991's 'Unfamiliar'; Bell provides some great Fender Rhodes!...'Natural Grace' is a Byrdsian track, written by Colbert,and as with many Ride songs details hedonism & the movement of a present towards another. Plus, it's as poppy as early classics 'Like a Daydream' or 'Taste'...'Only Now' is a mature ballad, written with 'Surf's Up'-collaborator Jack Rieley (and could fit on the album of the same title with ease!).
The single, 'Birdman', begins Bell's half of the album; a trippy Ride song which would have been improved if the appalling lyrics hadn't been printed on the album sleeve!...'Crown of Creation' was re-worked after the 1993 co-tour with The Charlatans and sounded too close to REM's 'Losing my Religion'. As for "I'm getting off at your station/I want to be your relation"!...The Creation's 'How does it feel to feel?' provides welcome respite and takes Ride back to the sound of the 'Play' e.p...'Endless Road' sounds like a cross between Paul Weller circa 'Wild Wood' & 'Electric Mainline'-Spiritualized. It sounds like a poor imitation of Gene Clark's 'The True One'...'Magical Spring', despite similarity to the earlier 'Walk on Water',is a classic jingle-jangle Ride track. A cracking chorus and a lyric about the kind of 'girl who lives on heaven hill' (to quote Husker Du)
'Rolling Thunder' (Bell's Dylan obssession!) is a great interlude- similar to the opening of 'Moonlight Medicine'. Sadly, it gives way to the crap tribute to 'You can't always get what you Want', 'I don't know where it comes from'. This is pastiche on an Oasis/Ocean Colour Scene/Black Crowes level. Terrible.
On the whole a good album- the first half offering signs of greatness. Things were never going to be quite the same again...