In an almost supernatural coincidence in 2017, the shoegaze legends of days gone by all decided to make a return at the same time. With bands such as The Jesus And Mary Chain and Slowdive all returning after an almost twenty year hiatus, it almost felt like we were going to be hearing a lot more from those outfits in the years ahead. Yet while many of their contemporaries have slipped back into their slumbered status, the only band that have chosen to double down on their return is Oxford's Ride, following up their 2017 comeback record 'Weather Diaries' with 'This Is Not A Safe Place', a record that aims to make the most of their newfound inspiration.
But while 'Weathered Diaries' felt more like the band paying lip service to their devout fanbase, 'This Is Not A Safe Place' looks to reestablish them in the global scene as they advance on a more irreverent and left-of-centre direction this time around. Whereas their previous material has all stuck firmly to the post-punk and shoegaze handbook, this new collection sees them adventure into a more contemporary and hybrid aesthetic. While the fuzzy guitars and lo-fi production remain very much a staple of their sound, it feels like the band are looking to step away from their legacy and try to form a bond with the newer bands of today.
While the album certainly has a far fresher style this time around, it never quite hits the same impact as their previous material. Although singles like 'Kill Switch' assert them as a force to be reckoned with, there is a little too much filler on here to recognise it as a fully-formed release. Punchy and exciting about half of the time, but never really has a chance to get going.