The View From Halfway Down by Andy Bell

Release date: October 9, 2020
Label: Sonic Cathedral

The View From Halfway Down is the debut solo release from Andy Bell of Ride. It is such a pleasant melange of psych pop and electronica. It is like a soft filtered version of his work in Ride (who themselves have softened their musical attack since their early days). This release was recorded over a four year period and completed during lockdown. It was engineered by Gem Archer and mastered by Heba Kadry.

‘Love Comes In Waves’ is the opening track and first single. It takes up where Ride left off on their last album, with its uplifting lyrics and sunshine melody. Simply terrific! ‘Indica’ is an extended slice of trancelike electronica. It meanders along in cool waters and is earmarked for my chill out playlist. Bell employs what sounds like backwards vocal manipulation, which fits with the musical framework. ‘Ghost Tones’ is a pretty acoustic number that somehow reminds me of The Beatles. ‘Skywalker’ is another laid back if overly long number, and you will find your blood pressure dropping like a stone as it unfolds. ‘Aubrey Drylands Gladwell’ is short and sweet with some sonic trickery underlying it. It ripples prettily like a rainbow shining off a trout’s back as it swims along in the sunlight. ‘Cherry Cola’ is another acoustic number that ushers in a bit of The Beatles. It is downtempo psych pop, and reveals Andy’s penchant for earworms. It could easily be another single, in my opinion. 

The two final songs are long form. ‘I Was Alone’ is peaceful dream pop and almost hushed at the beginning. It wanders on too long and there is not much differentiation in tone. ‘Heat Haze on Weyland Road’ is exactly seven minutes, and is tripped out electronica. It shifts musical elements around nicely, and I believe I hear saxophone in the mix. Nice work! In summary, this is a really swell recording from Ride’s lead guitarist. I hope to see more of his work in the near future.

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