Ride, Tarantula (Sire)

... in which Ride look around them, see that there's too much Britpop competition, and decide to give the game away. On the evidence of Tarantula, they've made the right choice.

I found Tarantula so disappointing at first that I went back to Ride's earlier albums to reassure myself that, yes, they were once Britain's shining shoe-gazing hope. The sea of guitars is long-gone, as are the uplifting crescendoes of "Vapour Trail" and "OX4". Ride made a sharp left-turn into retro territory with their last album, Carnival of Light; but even its strengths aren't to be found here.

There are some highlights: the ripping guitar break in "Walk on Water"; "Sunshine/Nowhere to Run", which could almost be a Carnival outtake; and "Mary Anne", which winds up nicely despite its trite lyrics ("Mary Anne, why can't you see/That you were born to marry me"—puh-lease). "The Dawn Patrol", "Burnin'", and "Starlight Motel" also have their moments. With the chaff removed from Tarantula, the leftover wheat would have made a fine EP.

The remainder of Tarantula is not appalling, just not particularly appealing. Ride have set themselves high standards to live up to, and they don't manage it here, which is a shame. Maybe if they try riding the comeback trail in 2020 they can write themselves a better epitaph.


This page: 31 January 2000; last modified 16 February 2001.

©2000 Rory Ewins