Noel Gallagher's 'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds'

Noel Gallagher's 'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds'

  • Article by: Daryl Sanders
  • Posted: 11/22/2011

Not surprisingly, Noel Gallagher’s solo debut, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, provides a yin to the yang of younger brother Liam’s first post-Oasis album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, released under the band name Beady Eye earlier this year with the remaining members of the British hit-making band.

In Oasis, Noel played Paul to Liam’s John, and like the solo McCartney, on Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, he pursues a polished, orchestrated, radio-friendly pop-rock vision. (It’s no coincidence that High Flying Birds, which is also the name of his backing band, is strikingly similar to the name of Macca’s band, Wings.)

The record works much the same musical territory as Oasis, in no small part because Gallagher wrote a number of the songs included before he left the band in 2009. In fact, Oasis recorded a version of “Stop the Clocks,” but never released it, although it was the title of their 2006 greatest hits collection. You can hear echoes of the band's hit “Wonderwall” in songs like “If I Had A Gun” and “AKA... Broken Arrow.”

While there is nothing particularly adventurous about Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, the songs are well performed under the direction of producer Dave Sardy, who also helmed the final two Oasis records. Gallagher’s vocals and guitar work are especially good, but those looking for musical adventure will have to wait for the release of his collaboration with Amorphous Adrogynous, aka Future Sound of London.

What really stands out about this record is Gallagher’s strong song cycle. Beginning with the opener, “Everybody’s On The Run” — another nod to Sir Paul (Band On The Run), he reminds the listener that he was the writer behind the vast and highly popular Oasis repertoire. The opener and the aforementioned “Gun” are urgent expressions of strong desire. Songs like “The Death of You and Me” and “Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks” are full of wit and whimsy, while the spectacular “Dream On” shows the artist’s cynical side.

Because some of the material here was already written prior to the breakup of Oasis, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds cannot be considered a statement of any kind about the demise of that band. The track that seems to reveal the most about Gallagher’s “solo” state of mind is the bouncy “(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach,” which includes the lyrics “Falling/ I see you on the way down/ I’ll meet you on the rebound/ Somewhere in between” and “So long/ See you in the next one/ Everyone’s been and gone/ There’s no one here but me.”

More than anything, the statement Gallagher made on this record is Oasis may be gone, but he isn’t — and he can make a solo record that is as thoughtful and well executed as any he made with his former band.

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