Everything feels like it has been leading to Interplay, Ride's forthcoming seventh album, the third since their 2015 reunion. It’s the sound of the group connecting all the dots, taking the frenzied guitar attacks, hypnotic grooves and dreamy melodic hooks of their early work and setting it to a more expansive sonic template, one that takes in synth flourishes, psychedelic folk, electronic beats and noir-pop soundscapes.
It has been a period of adversity in the world of Ride. Much of that was down to writing and recording during a pandemic – a period of adversity shared by everyone, everywhere – but there was also break-ups and a messy legal battle with an ex-manager that, singer and guitarist Mark Gardener states, “threatened our very existence.” It has instilled in the record a feeling of defiance, an album that pairs classic Ride lyrical hallmarks such as escapism, dreams, the dissatisfaction of modern life, yearning and freedom with a sense of resilience.
Songs began springing up in a variety of ways. Initially working at Gardener’s own OX4 studio, there were extended jams from which pieces of music would be honed upon and reworked into something more concise whilst each band member also brought in their own home-recorded demos to work from too. That everything was filtered through what happens when the four-piece play in a room together is alluded to the record’s title.
After a year or so of sporadic sessions at OX4, the record started to take a more defined shape when, at producer Richie Kennedy’s suggestion, they decamped to Vada Studios in the Midlands. Kennedy, who was part of Erol Alkan’s team on Ride’s previous two records, had entered the sessions as a spare pair of hands but his role grew organically into producer. He became a crucial part of Interplay’s creation – the band credit him as a galvanising force when they were running out of steam.
Interplay is a rich listen that flows from start to finish, at times urgent and formidable, at others wistful and melancholic. It's the sound of a great British band hitting a second peak. It’s a record about perseverance, about sticking together, about finding a way forward. Nine years after coming back together, Ride keep rewriting their story.