Where the Oxford band established their own identity in no little style.
Ian Wade 2012-08-13
Originally released in 1992, Going Blank Again saw the Oxford foursome of Mark Gardener, Andy Bell, Laurence Colbert and Steve Queralt forging an identity for themselves after the “My Baby Valentine” accusations accompanying 1990’s actually very fine debut, Nowhere.
Steered by the hardest working producer of the 1990s, Alan Moulder (Curve, Elastica, Lush, Nine Inch Nails), Going Blank Again was a top five hit. More importantly, it was a huge musical leap on from Nowhere, encompassing elements of prog, a more pronounced fondness for psychedelia and a smidgeon of dub reggae. Parallels could be drawn with New Order, The Beach Boys and The Cure.
Going Blank Again would spawn the band’s biggest singles chart success, too: astonishing opener Leave Them All Behind, a Won’t Get Fooled Again-like organ wobble underpinning a steamroller of guitars collapsing into noise. It is a monumental piece of work, and time has not dimmed its power.
Cool Your Boots, with its Withnail and I sample, swirls about in a seasickness-inducing style, harking back more to the first album. Time Machine opens with that aforementioned bit of dub before settling into something that could’ve come off Power, Corruption & Lies.
Elsewhere, the cheery Twisterella is possibly the indiest song ever written. With its references to the song of the same name in the novel Billy Liar, it’s a proper stare-through-your-hair slice of tweeness. Original closer OX4 is a lovely example of difficult-second-album ‘missing home’ shoegaze blues.
Listening to Going Blank Again (again), one is struck by the high quality of tunes on offer. The bonus B sides from the time, such as the 10-minute Grasshopper, suggests Ride’s only like-minded rivals at the time were Blur, sharing as they did a similar palette of influences.
It’s a shame, then, that Ride didn’t capitalise on the fine sounds of their first two LPs. Another pair of albums followed Going Blank Again, but internal relations were at a low and the music suffered as a result. But for a brief period back in the pre-Britpop 90s, the world seemed like Ride’s for the taking.