25 Years Ago: Ride Continue to Define Shoegaze on ‘Going Blank Again’
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At the time of the March 10, 1992 release of Going Blank Again, Ride had already established themselves as leaders of the shoegaze movement, with their 1990 debut Nowhere considered in retrospect one of the top three of all-time in the genre. To say there was much to live up to would undercut just how impressive that record was, but the Oxford, England band rose to the occasion, delivering a fantastic sophomore effort that could comfortably sit alongside its predecessor.
“The four of us were in a good place and the way we all worked together on that record was really good,” frontman Mark Gardener told XS Noize when the band reunited in 2015, adding that album number two was his favorite in the Ride catalog. “I think if we ever did do another record we would want to recreate that working way of how we worked on Going Blank Again.”
The epic swirl of lead single and Going Blank Again opener “Leave Them All Behind” picked up right where Nowhere left off. It builds and builds before guitars and harmonies come raining down with a bountiful backbeat of drums and steady bass. In other words, it’s the perfect shoegaze track.
But Going Blank Again was hardly going to be a simple extension of what came before; the second track – and next single – “Twisterella” is a much more streamlined, breezier creation; indicative of the maturity the group had developed. There was more immediate guitar in snappy pieces like “Not Fazed” and “Time After Time”, both of which represented Ride keeping things concise at the right moments.
“Chrome Waves” showcased a dreamier side, more akin to Nowhere’s most wide open instances, but the room to breathe is best exemplified on the lengthy closer, a nod to postal code where the bandmates resided in “OX4.” At about two minutes in, a gentle intro slowly gives way to a head bobbing, resonating riff that seems to get more buoyant by the second. The rise gives way a winding coda, which in a way signaled the end of Ride as shoegaze heroes.
“We’d gone as far as we could with what we had to start with, and it was just before a big shift in approach that led to Going Blank Again,” drummer Loz Colbert told Drowned in Sound. “So from that perspective it’s a very interesting snapshot of the end of an era for us.”
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