No. 17 on my List of Things I'd Like to Someday Know: why every other band of young British guys partial to swirly guitars and with a thing for groove eventually ends up aping Exile on Main Street and wearing too much denim. Primal Scream, the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Charlatans, even Oasis--you name 'em, they've gone from baggy to saggy in about the time it takes Kevin Shields to fiddle with an amp.

Second-gen shoegazers Ride were no exception: On their new chronologically ordered greatest-hits set, these Oxford lads start out strumming madly through frenetic tunes with negligible melodies and enough feedback to choke a Beatle, singer-guitarists Andy Bell and Mark Gardener tempering the screed with vocal lines the sonic equivalent of their earnest bowl cuts. By "Leave Them All Behind" and "Twisterella," from 1992's Going Blank Again, they'd begun writing actual songs; My Bloody Valentine knob-twirler Alan Moulder made sure things didn't get too pretty. They did soon after, of course, on '94's aptly titled Carnival of Light, which housed Ride's premier descent into trad-rock distension, the glorious "I Don't Know Where It Comes From," in which the fey Brit-boy crooning is bolstered by the sweet sounds of the Christ Church Cathedral School boys' choir. Petty infighting and a final album of murky, swaggering psychedelia (and Bell's eventual decampment to Oasis!) ensued, reinforcing Mick'n'Keef's lasting lesson: Be careful asking for what you can't always get--you just might get it.

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Mikael Wood

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