Average User Score: 7.5Mar 3, 2015The “wisest man in rock”, according to a handful of UK music magazines, isn’t looking for success. He’s not looking for another number oneThe “wisest man in rock”, according to a handful of UK music magazines, isn’t looking for success. He’s not looking for another number one album or climbing up the UK pop charts. He’s done that before, with one of the best bands Britain has ever seen, and even his first trek into solo-dom in 2011. It’s not his job or his place; ideally it is the job of the hundreds of other bands his songs have blossomed. So, where does that leave an aging brit rocker? It seems it leaves him to do whatever he wants.
Chasing Yesterday is what Gallagher sounds like with complete freedom. It’s an album with the sound of a 25 year old unibrowed Mancunian, but also the sound of a 50 year old West Londoner who still has a few clever tricks up his sleeve. The album begins with Riverman; a wofty folk song inspired by Brian Protheroe’s 1974 single “Pinball”, which slowly brings takes us into the depths of a Pink Floyd “Meddle” era guitar solo and leaves us showered in brass and saxaphone. Immediately, this album shows it won’t appease any Mancunian football hooligans who are “mad fer it”. Especially the Hotel California soundalike “The Girl With The X-Ray Eyes”, and the true ‘way-out there” moment, even for the usually conservative Noel, “The Right Stuff”, which sounds like walking into a smoky jazz club on a little acid and a lot of hash.
But, in the albums lead single, “In the Heat of the Moment”, the 20-years-in-the-making “Lock All The Doors”, the song Josh Homme wish he’d written, “The Mexican”, and the US FM radio pop rocker “You Know We Can’t Go Back”, it’s obvious Noel still likes to churn out good, old fashioned, melody-driven, no **** rock and roll that can withstand the sensible boundaries of the record’s themes.
Where the album shines most, and has the most in common with HFB1 is it’s most delicate and cinematic moments. ”While the Song Remains the Same” is the definitive song for skipping town just to find out if the grass really is greener on the other side; and even if it isn’t, at least you know. Noel’s ended up in paradise, here. ”The Dying of the Light” may be one of Noel’s greatest attempts at melancholia and one of Chasing Yesterday’s all around highlights. Now Gallagher is showing off his true songwriter craftsmanship. The album’s finale, “Ballad of the Mighty I”, only sets it into stone, and there with the hammer is Johnny Marr adding not too much, but just enough guitar to really make an impact.
If Chasing Yesterday tells us anything at all, it’s that it makes Noel’s first solo record look a little safe. If HFB1 was getting the Oasis out of his system, Chasing Yesterday is a pure injection of The Chief. It’s Noel paving a true path for himself and setting the tone for the future of his solo career…a bright future.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.9Oct 19, 2013Let’s face it; Noel Gallagher is one of the the greatest songwriters England has produced, maybe ever. But after the lackluster last fewLet’s face it; Noel Gallagher is one of the the greatest songwriters England has produced, maybe ever. But after the lackluster last few Oasis albums Noel lazily threw songs on, we finally got to see the genius songwriter in his own element, and the long awaited curiousness did not disappoint. ”If I Had A Gun” is probably as close to “Wonderwall“‘s romanticism he’ll ever get, and “AKA…What a Life!” puts a new disco beat side to Noel’s musical palette. But the thing that hits you most in “High Flying Birds” is the absolute epicness of the album, something that never escaped Oasis, but seemed overblown and unneeded at the same time. Noel, not having his brother’s menacing stage prowess and strong Lydon-esque vocals, needed to compensate, and it worked marvelously.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.1Oct 19, 2013From the rubble of Oasis first comes the swaggering Liam Gallagher, ready to kick your balls in. ”Different Gear, Still Speeding” has it’sFrom the rubble of Oasis first comes the swaggering Liam Gallagher, ready to kick your balls in. ”Different Gear, Still Speeding” has it’s moments of ball kicking, but also has a lot of touching, ballady, almost whimsical moments; but not in the Noel sense. It’s about time someone re-awoken the charm of the Faces and The Kinks and all those other great, forgotten British Invasion bands. Though that charm wears off a little when you realize how obviously how Beatles, Stones and Who it is, but that’s the exact thing that makes it charming again; it has a truly classic property to it, even if it’s not considered a classic.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.1Oct 19, 2013Before this review begins, I would like to point out that there will be no comparisons to Noel Gallagher’s album with this one, and for goodBefore this review begins, I would like to point out that there will be no comparisons to Noel Gallagher’s album with this one, and for good reason; they are incomparable. Because with this album, Beady Eye have tried to distance themselves from the Oasis sound, whilst still keeping it in their back pocket. After 2011’s blatantly obvious sounding but brilliantly fun “Different Gear” album the band was ditched by a renowned producer (Steve Lillywhite) and their management (also Noel’s) shortly after. Former Oasis members Liam Gallagher, Andy Bell and Gem Archer knew they couldn’t make the same album with Beady Eye that they did with Oasis; they had to separate their sound.
The album begins with that exact mindframe; Liam, Andy and Gem’s chorus-less and unique ‘Flick of the Finger’ comes out swinging with swagger but also with brains, as it’s one of the best written songs on the record and maybe the best song they’ve ever written. Then, expecting another bruiser for a second track, listeners might be shocked to hear the slow and slightly dark ‘Soul Love’, which is one of many displays of the talents of TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, the producer brought in to inject a bit of experimentation to a band influenced by a strict number of rock bands. Beady Eye are the last group on Earth to be known to use ambience, but it shows up in many places on the record, and more so on the album’s masterpiece bonus tracks. It is an absolute travesty that the beautiful ballads “Off at the Next Exit”, “Evil Eye”, “Back After the Break”, the Monkees-eque “Girls in Uniform” and Bee Gee’s stomper “The World’s Not Set in Stone” were not swapped out for the weaker songs on the album.
Other than the aforementioned ‘Flick of the Finger’, the real highlights of ‘BE’ are ‘Soon Come Tomorrow’, and ‘Ballroom Figured’, two songs in the same vein, but very well written. On the downside, ‘BE’ suffers from sometimes uninspired and overused songwriting.
Beady Eye fall back on their Beatles and Stones past with tracks like ‘Face the Crowd’, the very ‘Revolver’ period “Iz Rite” and the hippie feel of ‘Shine A Light’. A few of these tracks work, but they leave you seeing them as almost filler. The first single “The Second Bite of the Apple” has a great Zombies 60’s sound previously unheard from the group, but has appallingly terrible lyrics. Then, falling back even more, Liam starts again with his brother.
If it wasn’t noticeable with “The Morning Son” on the last record, he comes back with “Don’t Brother Me”, which highlights Noel’s previous success that Liam says he gave him by singing his songs in Oasis, while mentioning his solo success “If I Had a Gun…”. It’s almost sad to see Liam not being able to move on from his brotherly issues. Saying that, Liam’s songs, while simple, get their point across with a less reverbed and more dry and almost angelic delivery from a man who is usually seen as the opposite.
With “BE”, there are a lot of great moments, but not a lot of great songs. If the goal for Beady Eye was to be experimental and different, I think they slightly succeeded, but not as much as I’d hoped. On this album, Beady Eye sound like a band with an identity crisis; torn by the idea of what they want to be defined by. They should have learned a long time ago that they just need to ‘BE’.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Oct 19, 2013Easily his best batch of songs in a good 15 years, even though it sounds like an old man reminiscing about the early days, well, that'sEasily his best batch of songs in a good 15 years, even though it sounds like an old man reminiscing about the early days, well, that's because it is. Why does he sound like Herbert the Pervert?… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Oct 19, 2013The most generic rock record I've heard in a long time. Pearl Jam actually sound like a band with families, two cars and a mortgage. They'reThe most generic rock record I've heard in a long time. Pearl Jam actually sound like a band with families, two cars and a mortgage. They're like a band of dads that get together in their board shorts on Sundays in Eddie's garage and dusts off their instruments.… Expand