Ride: This is Not a Safe Place review – Shoegaze icons in brilliant career reboot

Fri, Aug 16, 2019, 05:00


This is Not a Safe Place


Wichita Recordings


Last April Fool’s day, guitarist Andy Bell fired off an email that claimed Ride were splitting up again. The red flag was the dubious claim that he’d focus his energies on a Beady Eye tribute band.

Ride now deliver their sixth album, their second since their 2014 reunion. Earlier this summer, they played two low-key “secret” shows in Dolan’s Warehouse, Limerick and Dublin’s Workman’s Club, in addition to supporting The Cure at Malahide Castle.

Ride - Repetition

Various ’90s legends have foisted new material on the world of varying quality, but Weather Diaries in 2017 was a very pleasant surprise. This is Not a Safe Place is reportedly partially inspired by a Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican, and reintroduces a warmer-sounding band on the excellent lead singles Repetition and Future Love. Kill Switch recalls their Tarantula phase, while Clouds of Saint Marie is reminiscent of Glasvegas. 

In the ’90s, Ride released two splendid albums, Nowhere (1990) and Going Blank Again (1992) during peak “shoegaze” before they went off the boil. This is Not a Safe Place will hardly reach those heights in terms of its impact on popular culture, but it is quite remarkable to witness the Oxford quartet enjoying such a riveting career renaissance.