Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (Mercury)

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Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: Stop the Clocks
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (Mercury)

Although comparisons are odious, you can hardly escape lining up this solo debut by Noel Gallagher (the brains of Oasis?) with that of brother Liam (the mouth?) whose recent album under the name Beady Eye whose Different Gear Still Speeding was an enjoyable post-Oasis romp and a lot more cheery fun than cynics might have expected.

Of course expectations are higher for anything by Noel given he was the man who largely helmed Oasis to stardom and wrote anything of consequence, plus sang a few significant features in that band's catalogue.

So maybe because of that expectation, but largely in the face of some real plodding mid-tempo songs of no great distinction, this is mostly a disappointment. And just not a lot of fun.

Where Beady Eye swerved and swaggered with cocky arrogance (and fell at a few hurdles because of that) here you get some warmed over familiar tropes which exist betwen slow psychedelic folk and Wonderwall (If I Had a Gun, Broken Arrow), and material which leans heavily on the Great British Tradition (Dream On is something shave off from the early Kinks).

On the credit side of the ledger is The Death of You and Me which, although also Kinks-like (Dead End Street comes to mind) and referencing Summer in the City, is actually quite a charmer as it slews into oddball jazz band passages. Okay, it's still Kinks but with its breezy lyrics towards the end and woozy quality it's pretty nice.

Interest also alights on I Wanna Live in a Dream in My Record Machine which is trippy, orchestrated rumination which begins "Help me, to find the light that's shining on me, to get back what they've taken from me . . ." It's a little bit Within You Without You and a little bit I Am the Walrus but a lot of Gallagher too.

Of course accusations of originality were rarely leveled at Oasis/Noel (which was also part of their swaggering charm), however here with so many undistinguished songs even material like the ordinary but punchy What a Life with its thumping beat sounds like something significant . . . but really it isn't. It's just the company it is keeping.

So while there are flashes of life here there is a lot of spot-that-tune (Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks is like a Rutles parody band doing the Kinks/Oasis) and too little which grips, sounds inspired or even enthusiastic.

This Gallagher is promising another album recorded with Amorphous Androgynous soon and maybe that will be more interesting.

But this is just fair-to-middling fare from someone who always talked the talk about Oasis albums on release, then would later retract the claims of greatness he made.

Haven't seen him talk this up quite so much.

He must have heard it.

Interested in Oasis, but want something more amusing? Then try this

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The Riverboat Captain - Oct 25, 2011

You're spot on: one or two very good songs and a lot of filler. I do like the guy though, and I am looking forward to his collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous due out next year. Hopefully a lot more ambitious, along the lines of his work with the Chemical Brothers.

JC41 - Nov 24, 2011

You're entitled to your opinion, but its so lazy to start a review with, "well we shouldn't compare, but let's compare..." Besides, Miles better than Beady Eye. The Roller? Three Ring Circus? Cmon, its just silly.
This album is a grower and will go down as a sort of a sleeper classic.

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