Riding the Low at Rough Trade East
Riding the Low are self-declared players of rock’n’roll. They are loud, proud, and both hark back to an era of bolshy, declarative 70s punk whilst sporting a penchant for all-consuming indie wall of sound. Oh, and they’re fronted by English actor Patrick “Paddy” Considine, well known for his roles in films and TV shows such as The Bourne Ultimatum and Peaky Blinders, and perhaps better recognised by music fans as that sketchy chap in the music video for the Arctic Monkeys’ Leave Before the Lights Come On.
Immediately, the enjoyment from the band on-stage is palpable, and Considine has the lean forward, mic-clutch frontman pose down. Riding the Low are promoting their new album Riding the Low Are Here to Help the Neighbourhood, which is a veritable wedge of guitar music that is meant to be played loud. Unfortunately, the volume and energy do not stop it from sounding slightly hollow. The guitar playing is overwhelmingly chordal and, though it’s not the band’s fault that when playing live – they are straight four-piece – it seems to lack the nuance that can make this kind of music so simplistically brilliant. Whilst listeners get drawn in quickly, it is difficult to hold their attention when the music speaks more to decibels than to hooks.
The lyrics aren’t bad, and the band have a good sense of irony in song titles like What Has the Universe Done for Me Lately?. They also hit the social-personal vibe well with lines like “she’s had a baby but it’s not mine”, their songs equal parts about relationships and how rubbish the world can be (with the two often inevitably coming into contact).
But the effect does sometimes slip into sonic melange, with the album’s lead single Heed guaranteed to satisfy noise junkies but not really managing to maintain interest. But then closing song New Records is a dreamy, perfectly crafted ballad that shows the band are clearly capable of nuance.
Whilst they catch the ear and can certainly write a good tune, Riding the Low don’t reach the kind of musical maturity they need to rise above a lot of acts doing a similar thing. Despite that, they know how to have a good time, and can readily bring their fans along with them.
Photos: Connor Picken
For further information about Riding the Low and future events visit here.
Watch a live performance of What Has the Universe Done for Me Lately here: