15 Jan 2015

Ride's 'Ride' EP - Happy 25th birthday

Ride's debut EP, the self-titled one with the red roses on the front turns 25 today, so as it's one of my favourite releases in the world, I thought I'd write a few words on why it was such a phenomenal starting point for the band. In my eyes at least, it's one of the most essential releases to have from the whole of the nineties, and seeing as it came out a mere 15 days into the decade that's quite an achievement isn't it?

Released right at the start of 1990, it kicked off a year that saw them rise from promising upstarts to one of the most acclaimed bands on the music scene - after they'd got the ball rolling with Ride, they soon released two more EPs, Play and Fall and of course, their all conquering debut album Nowhere.

1990 was Ride's year, and this EP might possibly be the band's finest - but you couldn't bank on it, because Ride's EPs were all pretty out of this world. It brushed the singles charts, but more than that, it received unanimously positive reviews and catapulted Ride to the front pages of the music industry. As a whole release, as a starting point for getting into the band, and as an EP for a seasoned fan to turn to when they just don't know what to listen to next, it's just absolutely fucking brilliant, and it will always be absolutely brilliant.

Like a few other of their EPs, Ride is structured just like a little album; first up you've got your mind-blowing pop song, with some swirling and added noise; that's Chelsea Girl here. Then you've got another track that's a bit less accessible, but easily good enough to be an album track; that's Drive Blind. Well, it's unfair to dismiss that masterpiece as 'good enough to be an album track', but still; it could definitely be on Nowhere. Following that, you've got another track of those sorts; All I Can See is hardly a Ride career highlight, but you can't deny it's status as what would be a spot-on album track. And, like their albums, the Ride EP closes with a track that sounds kind of like a book closing; Close My Eyes; a fan favourite that kind of slams the door shut on this EP. It's the ultimate closer, and kind of an ode to hangovers, but it's both tired and life-affirming at the same time, you know? For those reasons, Ride's debut EP endears itself to me as a very complete bit of work.

The inside of Ride's demo cassette, with a phone
 number for anyone needing 'any sonic business'
Ride's first EP was their first release, and therefor their first release on Creation records. Alan McGee signed the band, after Cally Calloman (one time A&R man for Julian Cope) handed McGee Ride's demo tape - which had two soon to be songs (Chelsea Girl & Drive Blind) from the Ride EP on it. Calloman was working at the major label Warners, who were about to sign Ride at the time, and after McGee heard rumours of it he got Calloman to get ahold of the tape for him - Calloman obliged, because he felt that Ride were just too good an indie band to be fucked around by a major label. McGee heard the demo tape, realising it was absolutely phenomenal and chased Ride around the country on tour until they'd sign for Creation, and the rest, as they say, is history. Ride fitted in on Creation so well that not only did they get on with Alan McGee at the time, but now Mark Gardener and McGee are still very good friends.

ANYWAY, after signing to Creation, Ride went to Oxford's Union Studios to record this EP, the one I'm rambling about. Union Studios was pretty much in someone's terraced house, and tiny, importantly in the middle of OX4. For their second EP, McGee booked them into an actual real proper studio. It's kind of hard to imagine something as well-rounded as Ride coming out of something as humble as a simple house, but that's where it was knocked out from.

It was released to great reviews in early 1990; the nineties had been going on for about two weeks and Ride were already here to knock the socks off everyone. It climbed up the singles charts, and got into 72nd - which, when you think of the fact that Ride were a bunch of teenagers making their first record, is pretty incredible. It still sounds fresh today, and it's a completely timeless work of British indie music that's now going to reach a new generation, assuming that Ride add it to their setlist for their reunion shows later this year.

So anyway, thanks for bearing with me and apologies for the rambly post, but this EP deserves all the love in the world.

Here are the links to the songs that make up the incredible release.
The RIDE e.p
Chelsea Girl
Drive Blind 
All I Can See
Close My Eyes