Six years before Ride split up for the first time they conjured up something quite extraordinary with their debut album, 'Nowhere'
Before they split up, reformed, split up and reformed again, Ride were responsible for writing and recording one of the most significant Shoegaze albums of the 90's with their debut album, Nowhere. The original eight track album, released on 15th October via Creation Records, was the first full length recording by the Oxford band and followed their three relatively successful EP's, Ride, Play and Fall, all of which were released in the nine months prior to the album. Having only formed in 1988 Ride enjoyed a fast tracked rise to public attention following the chart success of their EP's, the backing of influential DJ's John Peel and Gary Crowley and the undoubted talent spotting skills of record boss Alan McGee.
Less than two years after they had played their first gig at the North Oxfordshire College Christmas party, Ride had released three EP's and a critically acclaimed album that peaked at number 11 in the UK charts. Before they could even contemplate a difficult period ahead the partnership of founding members Andy Bell and Mark Gardener delivered up some wondrous results that helped shape the face of music, not only at the time, but for future shoegazers everywhere. The epic soundscapes that Ride created in the summer of 1990 still blow you away with their combined power and beauty. The mix of layered scuzzy guitars with tight percussive backdrops helped capture an irresistible sonic squall.
The speed with which events were happening left Ride with little time and no official singles released from their debut LP in the UK. The band barely had time to take a breath before they were back in the studio to record another EP - Today Forever.
One of their most iconic, best known and more immediately commercial songs, Vapour Trail, was released in April 1991 as a single in the U.S. The more harmonic track brought together a wonderfully woozy arrangement that accentuates the revolving guitar riffs and hollowed out drums to give up a new sound for the 90's. This was, and still is, a faultless Ride signature tune; 145th in the Top 200 Tracks of The 90's according to Pitchfork magazine.
The quality of Ride's debut album should not be underplayed. It is an exquisitely crafted album that was ahead of the curve. The cohesive atmospherics that are delivered on Nowhere are a testament to the incredible production and engineering work of both Marc Waterman and Alan Moulder. Capturing Ride performances "live" in the studio, Waterman, and latterly Moulder, managed to get the energy and urgency of the band on to tape.
From the ever building beauty of Seagull through the poppier Kaleidoscope, the low-fi reflections of In a Different Place and the majestic splendour of Dreams Burn Down, Nowhere is virtually peerless. Laurence "Loz" Colbert's frenetic drumming, Andy Bell's lead guitar and vocal, Mark Gardener's rhythm guitar and vocal and Steve Queralt's pulsating bass produce such a torrent of sound whilst at the same time delivering some great harmonies.
There is not a poor or inferior song to be had on Nowhere. The quality of the whole album is undoubtedly down to the quality of the songs, but also to the combined performance of a band completely in sync with each other. Drummer Loz Colbert summed it up aptly when he said that - "You have to understand, if you take any of the elements out of Ride, the sound goes completely."