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Friday, 21 June 2013

Leave Them All Behind 12 inch single – Ride (1992)

Way back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s Ride could do no wrong, releasing a series of EP’s and albums that astounded with a blend of My Bloody Valentine intensity, deft arrangements and Byrdsian melodies that avoided the retro tag. That they were on the Creation label gave them an even greater luminous air. By 1992’s album Going Blank Again Ride reached their apogee and this single represented all that was great about the Oxford four-piece.

Leave Them All Behind begins with an electronic pulse reminiscent of The Who’s Baba O’Riley; then the guitars crash in with intersecting counterpoints. It’s powerful and melodically dreamy at the same time, perfectly summing up Ride’s shoegazing sound. The track slowly increases in intensity across its eight minutes and at the end it’s all guitar noise. I must have played this track hundreds of times when it came out – I was totally addicted to the intense flow and pulse of the song. One drunken night ended with the police at the door, called because of a complaint, but we didn’t hear them because we were playing this track.

Detail of back cover with totally cool font

I saw Ride live at the time of this song’s release and they opened with Leave Them All Behind. That was 21 years ago but I can still remember the audience’s reaction – opened mouthed awe (or were they just necking their drugs?). The bass player blew up his AMP and we had wait around after the song for it to be replaced. I remember thinking that I would need my brain replaced by the end of the gig (this turned out to be partially true).

Leave Them All Behind is backed with an alternate version of Chrome Waves, which I believe is slightly superior to the album version. But the real bonus here is the monumental B-side Grasshopper, a 10-minute riff heavy meandering instrumental that is indulgently entertaining – a true B-side.

The band loved the circus

It’s a pity that Ride faltered after this when they became one of the first British bands of that era to consciously go down the retro path with their next album Carnival of Light (1994). They lost much of what made them great and they only partially recovered with their last album, the underrated Tarantula (1996). By then they’d been overrun by Oasis and the multitude of Britpop bands who defined that era. But for anyone interested in Ride, all of their EPs and albums up to and including the Going Blank Again era are essential.

"This article says that we'll do a shit retro album next! WTF!"

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