Along with My Bloody Valentine, Pale Saints, Swervedriver and
Chapterhouse, Ride joins company with best shoegaze bands of all time. Riding out their fame, and possibly capitalizing on nostalgic fans thirsty for anything Ride, the Oxford, England band have released yet another compilation. Already cataloguing three or four other albums filled with revisions, covers, remakes or what have you of old songs; and in addition to the 2001 OX4 best of compilation, Waves is filled with live sessions of material from previous albums recorded from 1990 - 1994, the era when Ride was on a musical rise. With Lez Colbert's erratic drumming, Mark Gardner's solid strumming, and Any Bell's guitar, the sound is a fusion of The Velvet Underground, and The Doors.
The album opens up with a John Peel session from 1990. "Like A Daydream," is the album opener and still possesses the infectious melody. "Dreams Burn Down," and "Perfect Time," are chromatically slowed down as compared to the originals. "Sight of You," is a Pale Saints cover, and Ride do a wonderful job with the tempo on the remake. "All I can See," blows the original right out of the water with its amped breakdown, and strutting staccato manifestations. The next set of tracks are also from a John Peel session, and "Decay," with its lucid vocals, and steering drums is the standout on the album. The following track, "Severance," is a cover of Dead Can Dance's original version. "Birdman," and "Crown of Creation," are a couple of tracks recorded for Mark Goodier, and feature a direction favored towards bridging acoustic with steel drums. After the first ten tracks or so, the LP takes a strange twist towards late 60's guitars and weak percussion filled songs from the Carnival of Light and Tarantula albums. "Mouse Trap," from a 1992 Mark Goodier session is clearly much more energetic while "Walk on Water," lacks the punch delivered from the Live Reading Festival. "Time of Her Time," and "Not Fazed," are reminiscent residues precipitated from 1992 when the band was "Riding" a musical "wave" of popularity, and possibly hitting a peak in their career. The final set of tracks seem to diminish greatly in quality. From a Mark Radcliffe session in 1994, the vocals of Gardner and Bell seem to lack stomach and passion.
Waves is inconsistent musically, and lacks a flow an LP should contain, yet it is understandable as this is a Live CD. Guitarist Andy Bell says these songs "Sounded better than their official versions." While this is true for some songs, most of the cuts drop off in quality in my opinion, and this record is not recommended for listeners new to Ride, but rather another collectable piece of musical resonance for old time Ride fans. Though, for listeners new to the band, if you can stand a drowsier sounding, live version of Coldplay, you may find some enjoyment in this record.