The only drawback of Waves, a compilation of Ride's sessions for BBC Radio 1, is that it begins in a tidal wave and ends in a puddle. Though it's sequenced like all BBC-session and singles-oriented discs should be sequenced -- chronologically, from earliest to latest -- its arc mirrors that of the band's albums, as well as OX4: The Best of Ride, starting off as spirited and adventurous and slowing to "mature" and safe. This disc is the best support for the argument that Ride's vitality and individuality decreased as they became more proficient at mimicking their inspirations. The loose nature of the first two sessions, both recorded in 1990, certainly bears this out, with a handful of the selections -- usually the faster, more energetic ones, where the forward momentum is nearly avalanche-like -- topping the original studio versions. Fans will rejoice in finally owning the cover versions of Pale Saints' "Sight of You" and Dead Can Dance's "Severance"; some muscle is injected into the former, turning an emaciated, lovelorn ballad into something that could've been recorded by a young, eager Jesus and Mary Chain. The third session, recorded while Going Blank Again was hitting its commercial peak, features raw versions of "Time of Her Time," "Not Fazed," and "Mouse Trap" that will be preferred by those who were put off by the glossy production sheen cast over the album. The last two sessions are based around Carnival of Light material, the earlier of the two put to tape before the album sessions. Here, "Birdman" isn't quite the ethereal epic that it would become, and "Crown of Creation" isn't nearly as precious. On the final session, recorded just after the album's release, the songs are fully formed; unfortunately, the reedy sound of the live recording, along with songs that were thin to begin with, closes the disc off on a dull note. But make no mistake -- it all makes for something that no Ride fan will want to be without.
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman