A couple of years I saw the reformed Ride at Newcastle Academy and it was not only the best gig I witnessed in 2015 but definitely up there with my best ever and I've seen quite a few bands down the years. With Ride ultimately the appeal hinges on whether you surrender to the sheer sincerity and sound of the songs, the Byrds front section backed by the Who's rhythm section, (in this respect bassist and drummer Steve Queralt and drummer Laurence Colbert are a remarkable unit who have never quite received their due), or find their undeniable Home Counties qualities negligible and weak. Seeing them live established their credentials once and for all for me. They take you to some places that are definitively theirs.
Now they've taken their reformation further and produced an album that has much to recommend it. If nothing else it clearly establishes that Ride was the proper place for Andy Bell and becoming a sideman for Oasis was actually a failure on his part to acknowledge his own personal legacy and his primary working partnership with frontman Mark Gardener rather than someone whose proper place in the world was standing a few feet behind Noel Gallagher.
Ride were a band who did not fully realise the potential of their first two albums first time round and its difficult to resent them some time in the sun time round now. Although some lyrics fall apart before you, Weather Diaries is musically sturdy and has some decidedly transcendental moments where they reach for and achieve a mid-life grace. This is a considered and worthy statement, slightly battered by middle age and the assault that living in the UK makes on all our nervous systems, (both in terms of its incomprehensible weather and turbulent and dangerous contemporary political climate, an obvious concern throughout). Ride should make some deserved waves this weekend at Glastonbury. They'll also be back in Newcastle this winter and I'll make a point of being there to see them again.