Noel Gallagher - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Noel Gallagher - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

by Dan Clay Rating:8 Release Date:2011-10-17

So, Liam picked up the pieces of the fractured guitar thrown at his brother and formed Beady Eye, while Noel retreated back home, turned down the X Factor and set about becoming the singer-songwriter you always suspected he felt more at home being. The former's decent offering may have sounded not too dissimilar to Oasis, so what can older songsmith Noel do on his debut solo release?

The answer is pretty much the same, delivering a set of 10 songs that feel like superior Oasis b-sides (themselves usually better than their a-side counterpart). Opener 'Everybody's on the Run' is the sort of sweeping, orchestral big number akin to 'The Masterplan' or 'Whatever', that showcased Noel's talents as a songwriter then, and still does now.

After the more standard stomp of 'Dream On' comes the album's best track,

, and more standard rock of '(I Wanna Live in a Dream in My) Record Machine' show Gallagher's not lost his touch for a decent tune and surprising melodic direction.

However, it's 'AKA... What a Life!' that's likely to surprise most people with its disco backing (and bizarre Russell Brand video), but at least shows Noel's not content to merely regurgitate past glories, but move on to musical pastures new. So it's a slight shame the next three tracks do little to further the impression the strong first six have given. Both 'Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks' and '(Stranded on) the Wrong Beach' stomp around without leaving much of a mark while 'AKA... Broken Arrow' sounds like it could have featured on any of Oasis' latter albums as filler.

So it should come as little surprise that Noel uses a song originally destined for one - 'Stop the Clocks' - as his closing track. It's a decent enough tune, just without the levels of throwaway genius that made Oasis' first two albums so much fun and the last few a bit of a trawl.

It seems, then, a break can do you a lot of good. On the evidence of the first six songs, at least Noel's got a lot of his mojo back. If he can recapture those heady mid-90s days then who knows where he can go from here. It's a simple message he's proclaiming - Don't Look Back in Anger, just Roll With It.

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