Ride

Going Blank Again

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From the sounds of the cloistered, chaotic opener, "Leave Them All Behind," Going Blank Again sounds like it could be headed down the same Nowhere path. Guitars as far as the ear can hear -- not much different from the effect gained after riding a sit-and-spin for eight straight minutes -- are just as dizzying as the prior record's opener. But rather than sink into a thick underbelly of melancholy, Going Blank Again offers sunshiney melodies and gleaming, bold production. All the band's elements are more pliable, and overall it's pretty cheery. In fact, some of the album could be loosely classified as power pop. Bouncy tunes like "Twisterella," "Not Fazed," "Mouse Trap," and "Time of Her Time" each share more than a thing or two in common with the likes of Teenage Fanclub, but with more layered vocals and less-cutting guitars. Though Ride's guitars don't bite as much, there are loads of them everywhere; the band doesn't completely sacrifice their love of reverberating noise, but it's more done in the name of pop than to merely cause a blistering racket. Though the lyrics often read as overtly simple or obtuse (a common Ride foible), Mark Gardener's and Andy Bell's voices are too pretty to let this shortcoming mar things. They create enough of a mood with their proper instruments, and their sighing and random vocal intonations are undeniably lovely. No longer do they hide shortcomings with sheets of distortion, and there's a lot more focus and confidence on display throughout. Don't let a Ride fan tell you otherwise: Going Blank Again is anything but empty. [Going Blank Again was remastered and reissued by Ignition U.K. in 2001. Four B-sides are added; the only B-side from this era not included is an alternate version of "Chrome Waves."]

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