Ride know what they’re good at. ‘Weather Diaries’ is the band’s first album in 21 years, following 1996’s ‘Tarantula’, released shortly after the band’s split, and this record has the band harnessing their greatest strengths as they aim to step outside their comfort zone. Though ‘Weather Diaries’ is a solid effort from a band trying to balance their mastery of shoegaze with other, outside elements, the strongest tracks on ‘Weather Diaries’ are when the band fully embrace the skeleton of the songwriting formula they’d perfected over two decades ago. Ride are the masters of their shoegaze craft, and they shouldn’t be afraid to shy away from it.
Single ‘Charm Assault’ lacks any of the meteoric drift Ride are famed for. It’s a concise and well-structured rock number, but even with the DIIV-esque hook, it’s the most straightforward that Ride will ever get. Across ‘Weather Diaries’, there are instances of the band attempting to look to other influences - the hints of electronic in ‘All I Want’ and maybe even some surf-pop in ‘Cali’, but the strongest tracks are when that beloved dizzying, fuzzy, all-encompassing shoegazey sonic landscape fully envelops.
Standout ‘Impermanence’ features all Ride’s strengths – hooky melodies and a sort of doomed sadcore to it – and recalls the band’s signature sound. ‘Home Is a Feeling’, another melodic and drifting song, is also among the band’s strongest. Bands should always be lauded when looking to other influences and inspirations for a fresher take on a record, especially when it’s the first one released in 21 years, but when you’re as good as Ride are, you shouldn’t feel the need to look too far.