- Melody / Hooks
Sooner or later Oasis were going to explode for the final time. The good news is that both Liam and Noel Gallagher have put together their respective projects: Beady Eye and Noel’s High Flying Birds.
With a massive songwriting track record behind him as the lynch pin of Brit Rockers Oasis and with 8 U.K. number one singles and albums to their credit Noel Gallagher’s first solo outing was understandably very highly anticipated and it doesn’t disappoint. If you enjoyed Oasis’ songs then this L.P. will be right up your street.
“Everybody’s on the Run”
This album kicks off with a gently cooking and foreboding minute long instrumental – an orchestrated series of dramatic motifs that prelude the upcoming track, before dropping out to nothing but a bass guitar, Noel’s echo soaked vocal and a soflty fizzing pitch that will get your dog howling. It’s reminiscent of the Beatles “Day in the Life” and it’s a great way to hook you in and this is what this record seems to preoccupy itself with: hooks. “High Flying Birds” is drenched in an anthemic search for hope as Noel exorts us to “Hold on” for the rest of the ride and it already seems like it’s going to be an exciting trip.
Of course Noel delivers characteristically great chorus after chorus through a huge production of lushly orchestrated strings and brass. Unmistakably Gallagheresque lyrics won’t over-tax your mind or even your sensibilities – you’ll want to sing them anyway. The overall feeling remains anthemic throughout and it’s a great start to the disc. The first song ebbs away at 4.30 after a grandiose, string filled coda. This sets the pace for the remainder because most of the tracks are over four minutes long – you’re supposed to enjoy yourself.
Dream On, Wrong Beach, If I had a Gun
The record continues with the Modish, glam rock, “Importance of being Idle”, singalong stomp of “Dream On”: it’s as catchy as influenza with an uplifting, good time, carnival brass that’ll have your big toe jumping up in your boot as the song just gets bigger and bigger. Later on, “Wrong Beach” brings back the chiming drone of jangly guitar, Duane Eddy styling, 1950’s reverb soaked trem guitar, honky piano, and a superb, edgy middle eight that feels like a sinister, late 70’s, clockwork orange roller disco – it’s superb and you can almost hear a bit of Blur in this one – is that Damon Albarn in the vocal phrasing? “If I had a Gun” is so Oasis it almost hurts – but without the anxious drama – slow burning itself into an epic, lyrically focused ballad with a vaguely Wonderwall flavour.
The Death of you and Me, I wanna Live in a Dream
“The death of you and me” continues the “Idling” theme with keyboards ripped from a Ghost Train and a quirky, acoustic gypsy guitar. Of course the chorus cuts in like a good old, knees up singalong. It’s pretty Kinks-y, like the English summer sun breaking through the rain, before an eccentric brass band of New Orleans hatmakers appears on a double decker bus bound for the beach. “I wanna live in a dream” delivers a smooth sounding, Verve style, polished pop anthem, with faint speudo-psychedelic “Kashmir” flavours, vaguely spiritual undertones, and a great guitar break (Stairway anyone?) that peaks with some timely brass: it feels like a spaced out Christmas Party with Seargant Pepper and the Lonely Hearts Club Band – it might be the best track on the L.P..
What a Life, Broken Arrow
The undeniable hooks of the up tempo “What a life” and falsetto are highly reminiscent of Gay Dad – except here it’s all about stretching out the tension and atmosphere over the endlessly driving beat, the circling piano. and some choppy rhythm guitar – it’s a stellar track. “Broken Arrow” delivers a finely crafted and polished, guitar based, pop gem that definitely deserves more than a quick listen.
Stop The Clocks
The momentous “Stop the Clocks” sounds like The LA’s jamming Oasis tunes with George Harrison in Haight Ashbury. The song peaks with a fully loaded, fuzzed up guitar break while the band kick out the jams with an intense burst of high energy alt-rock chaos. The penultimate “The Good Rebel” has an unmistakeable sense of uplifting feel good factor before the sun sets and the eccentric flavour of “Alone on the Rope” finally delivers the low key, dreamy, down time of a gloomy Sunday afternoon shuffling around a deserted railway platform with Thom Yorke and a flask of hot tea to face the end of the record.
The Verdict – Good, bad or just ugly?
With solid drums, percussion, amazing keyboards throughout and great band behind him “High Flying Birds” really delivers on the Noel Gallagher promise. Wrapped up in a superb production package, heavy on hooks and melody, this record feels much more fulfilled and complete than an Oasis offering. Leaving the alcohol fuelled guitar swagger of QuOasis out of the equation – this record delivers intelligently well crafted pop songs that will probably get better every time you listen; until you wear it right out – it’s good.
January 2012 NME magazine awards Noel Gallagher Godlike Genius
Noel Gallagher is to have the “Godlike Genius” prize bestowed upon him at the 2012 NME Awards.
The singer is to be honoured at the music magazine’s annual ceremony for his three-decade spanning career which has seen him achieve global success with Oasis and launch his successful solo project Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Speaking about the prestigious honour, Noel, quite rightly said:
“I would like to thank NME for bestowing upon me such a great accolade. I have dreamt of this moment since I was 43 years old. I accept that I am now a genius, just like God.”
Previous winners of the honour include Dave Grohl, Paul Weller, Ian Brown, The Cure and the Manic Street Preachers.