on June 26, 2004
Let me first say that Ride was an incredible band that deserves a box set. (Actually, make that 2-3 box sets.) The first 'new' release from the band in more than five years is a good overview of the band's career and has something for everyone - from those new to Ride to even the most hardcore collectors.
OX4, the greatest hits disc, captures most of Ride's best moments. From 'Like A Daydream' to 'Black Nite Crash', it's all here including all the singles. Unfortunately, some of Ride's best songs were not singles and were left off the compilation. 'Cool Your Boots' is the best example, sadly ignored in favor of the monotone Creation cover 'How Does It Feel To Feel?'.
Firing Blanks, the disc of unreleased material, serves up a quite a few gems. 'Blue' and 'Everybody Knows', written by drummer Loz Colbert are excellent songs, the former even featuring Loz on vocals! 'She's So Fine', which later appeared in different form on Tarantula as Sunshine/Nowhere To Run, is an outstanding track that should've made the cut on Carnival of Light. Velvet Underground's 'New Age' is also covered here and Ride turns in a solid performance but Andy Bell's vocal suffers from the near absence of backing vocals. 'Tongue Tied' is the standout track here, and was dropped from Going Blank Again because record execs thought the album was too long. Overall, there is some outstanding material here and it is an excellent addition to the Ride library, but I'm sure there is some very strong material that remains unreleased.
The live disc, recorded at the 1992 Reading Festival is a good document of Ride as a live band. Ride were nothing short of lethal on stage and quite possibly the best live rock band, bar none, from 1991-1993. Many of the classic live songs show well here. 'Leave Them All Behind', 'Taste' and 'Seagull' in particular are excellent versions. As a collector of live music from Ride, I think the band could've chosen a better live set, perhaps from the 1993 Daytripper shows, which had Ride truly at peak form. Two songs were dropped from the Reading performance; John Lennon's 'I Don't Want To Be A Soldier' and 'Making Judy Smile'. The former was released on a Sire Records compilation in the mid-90s, but it is curious that 'Making Judy Smile' didn't make the cut. Overall, this collection is one that no music fan should be without. One of the best bands of their era, Ride deserves more recognition as an important and innovative band. Hopefully, the interest surrounding the release of this box set will lead to a second, live box set or possibly a new Ride collaboration. There is certainly enough material to put together an incredible album of covers. 'Eight Miles High', 'European Son', 'The Model', 'Sight Of You', and 'That Man' are all worthy of release.
Let's hope this is not the last Ride.
on January 8, 2002
First, the selections for "OX4"--the "best of" album--are somewhat lopsided. Four songs from "Carnival of Light" seems a bit much, and the omission of that album's "Natural Grace" is striking. The album "Tarantula" is also underrepresented here. This said, the remastered versions of the earlier songs on "OX4" sound much, much better than the originals. Listening to "Taste" on this album is a new experience (same goes for the song "OX4"). What really makes this box set worthwhile are the unreleased recordings and the live recording (from 1992, thankfully). The alternate versions of "Dreams Burn Down" and "In A Different Place" are very good, and the outtakes from "Going Blank Again" and "Tarantula" are worthy additions. As for the live album, "Live Light" did not raise my expectations regarding Ride live on disc, but this live recording is a different thing entirely. It makes "Live Light" sound like the soggy mess it is. The standouts here are "Sennen," "Nowhere," "Seagull," and "Mouse Trap". Together, this box set helps further define Ride's impressive work. If you are enough of a fan to be considering buying this collection, realize that the recently reissued, remastered "Going Blank Again" album includes the b-sides "Going Blank Again" and "Grasshopper". That album is another need-to-own for fans, as these are two of Ride's best songs ever. It is great to see this band getting proper, albeit late, respect.