Slowly but surely, shoegaze has been getting its due. What was a short-lived nineties musical boom, and only in Britain, wasn’t one of the first alt-sounds to enjoy a resurgence in the twenty-first century, but has finally been having its day. First and foremost has been the return of Ride, with two great reunion records, 2017’s Weather Diaries (QRO review) and last year’s This Is Not a Safe Place (QRO review). Now singer/guitarist Andy Bell has put out his debut solo album, The View From Halfway Down, a more relaxed piece of enjoyment.
There is a sweet sixties feel to The View, which is particularly notable in that it is matched to a sonic style that came thirty years later in shoegaze. Opener “Love Comes In Waves” does it the most & the best, along with the chill & smiling “Cherry Cola”. Even though he sings in Ride, Bell does rely heavily on instrumentals & near-instrumentals, like the synthy “Indica” and the extended close “Heat Haze on Weyland Road”, which are good for mood setting, but do keep the record from being more than an off-cycle solo side project.
While not some bold solo endeavour, The View From Halfway Down is decidedly enjoyable album from a decidedly enjoyable musician of a decidedly enjoyable band making decidedly enjoyable music that’s having a decidedly enjoyable return.