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The Ride

The Ride

What do you do when you're the member of a fairly critically acclaimed indie rock band when the band is taking somewhat of a break? The answer, of course, would be to release a solo album as sort of a side project, and get some of those ideas that have been floating around in your head (that wouldn't quite fit into the sound your band has developed) out into the open. Josh McKay of Macha has done just that, and as Seaworthy, he explores musical realms that have a touch of his regular group in them, yet branch out into entirely different areas as well. He combines spacey rock, pop, and a touch of drone into a 10 track, 45 minute release that completely evokes the title of the disc without every falling into jam band land.

The first two tracks on the album open up things in an almost trance-like mode. "Open The Gates" is two and a half minutes of swirling guitars, some subtle drums (but enough to give things a backbone), and strums of what sounds like a zither, giving things a slightly middle-eastern touch. Fading directly into "I Met Her In The Candy Store," things get even more spaced-out. The percussion fades out into an almost heartbeat-like drum machine pattern while the guitars drop down a notch more and sound like they're being swirled through molasses instead of water. McKay adds vocals that toy back-and-forth with the guitars, creating the effect of a pop track drifting through a narcotic haze.

Things don't really stray too much from that drifting, lazy feel until about halfway through the disc on the sixth track "The Day," on which McKay collaborates with Japanese singer Haco. Moving along with a clanging percussion, the light vocals and chimes offset things nicely and change up the feel of the disc. Instead of dropping things off, though, the song "Identifying The Body" follows things right up with a rumbling, programmed beat and more female vocals (this time by Orenda Fink). The track throws all kinds of sounds in the mix (including sampled pieces from McKay's former band Emperor Moth and spooky sound effects), and although it feels a bit out-of-place, it adds a bit of punch to the middle of the disc.

The release closes out with the two-part album titled track "The Ride." At about four and half minutes, the opening part is really just sort of a warmup, with sampled ocean sounds, piano, and distorted vocals that give it a far-away feel. The second part doesn't really pick up the tempo at all, but the elements come into focus more, with rich chords on the piano and a reverb in the vocals that you can feel. Fans of Macha might find the release lacking a bit in the percussion area, but The Ride makes up for it some with atmosphere. Not quite as solid as full-length releases from the group, but not half-baked either.

Rating: 7.25