Review: "Pierced Arrow" - The Rides (Stephen Stills, Barry Goldberg, Kenny Wayne Shepherd

by Andy Snipper,

The first album by The Rides was staggering. A true tour-de-force and a breathtaking example of Blues/Rock at its best. I fully expected them to quietly disappear, box ‘form another supergroup’ ticked and two fingers up to those who thought Barry Goldberg and Stephen Stills were yesterday’s news but, here they are again and guess what – another stunning album!

The magic of Stills and Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s marriage is developed and expanded and Goldberg’s keyboards adds enormously to what might otherwise be slightly stilted. Vocals are shared between Stills and Shepherd and egos seem to be well and truly shelved as the band share all the responsibilities.

The songs are better than on Can’t Get Enough: obviously developed along with the relationship between the three and showing the understanding of band members as opposed to individuals.

They kick off with a rollicking bit of rock ‘n’ roll with Kick Out Of It, riffing like the Stones at their best and soloing like goons. Danceable as all hell and a great start to the album.

Virtual World is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard this year, the emotion in Stills voice is almost physical and the guitar work is simple, understated and plain lovely. The message about the virtual world as opposed to reality mirrors the actions of those who can only see a gig through the pictures they take on their mobiles and tablets. They pull the same musical strings on By My Side only with Kenny Wayne Shepherd on lead vox. The guitar parts are heart wrenching and dark and the whole song shows what the band are capable of.

I’ve Really Got To Use My Imagination has a soulful feel and Goldberg’s lovely Hammond creating a deep and dense soup of texture.

They can rock out as well and on numbers such as Mr Policeman or Game On they had me bouncing all around the room.

The Rides are clearly more than a one album trinket and the three members are showing just how much fun can be had from playing with mutual love and respect.

In many respects it is better than the first album but really, considering the experience of the three, it is the second disc of a very fine double album.

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