23 January 2006

mark gardener - "magdalen sky" (from the these beautiful ghosts lp, available for purchase here.)

you know, someone had to write the tunes in ride. after both hurricane #1 and his stint in oasis, andy bell doesn't look like the likely party. w/ the animalhouse now safely in the rearview, mark gardener emerges, releasing his solo debut ten years after the ride breakup, and makes a strong claim that his was the voice that drove ride.

gardener's move into soft, but by no means bland or mor, acoustic music is similar to what neil halstead has done in mojave 3 after the slowdive split. backed by british country-rock outfit goldrush, gardener evokes all of the boyish charm that he displayed in his old band, but it's tinted by a world-weariness that suggests the interim years haven't been entirely kind. like "ox4," it's another oxford song, and w/ its gentle strumming and subtle brass, it makes a poignant contribution to my visions of an imaginary england. one can, indeed, almost hear how ride might have treated this song--spectral harmony vocals, keyboards, keening guitars--and the wistfulness of the song is indirectly increased as one dreams of what might have been. even w/ all of these nu-gaze bands popping up daily, it's nice to have one of the originals back, esp. when he sounds this vital.

and a good thing too, b/c i wasn't quite prepared to believe that loz was ride's genius-in-residence.

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