Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds & Beady Eye – Different Gear, Still Speeding

In honour of the opening of the London Olympics, let’s get British . . .

Do you remember when Oasis used to be great?  Of course you don’t.  At least not if you’re an American, since it’s been nearly 20 years.

While every one of their 7 studio albums went to the top of the charts in the UK and they managed a number of hit songs, they basically fell off the edge of the earth in the States after their second album, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, sold a bajillion copies (approximately).  Oasis hopelessly lost their way over the course of their next 3 releases due to drugs and . . . well, more drugs . . . and by the time they started to rebound with Don’t Believe The Truth and Dig Out Your Soul, only a limited number of people cared—those die-hard fans who will buy everything, and those who still held out hope the boys might remember what a catchy song sounds like (those like me, and I only vaguely cared).

The two brothers leading the band, Noel and Liam, always had a contentious relationship (to say the least . . . like cats and dogs—and by “cat” I mean “ferocious tiger,” and by “dog” I mean “they wanted to kill each other”) and they finally broke up a few years ago amid lots of shouting and punches and broken guitars.

Well, they sort of broke up.  Really there were just a couple of minor changes.  Liam and the rest of the band stayed together and formed Beady Eye.  Noel formed Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Interestingly, the break managed to reinvigorate everyone and the respective debut albums by both bands sound like a return to form.  Oasis fans may have mixed feelings at the split, I don’t know (I haven’t taken a poll), but they should be thrilled since they basically get two albums now instead of one.  Take the best tracks from each to make your own super-tight, new-fangled Oasis album or mix all the tracks together for a sprawling, classic rock double-album like they used to do back in the day.

The two bands share similar—and expected—traits: mainly, the total disregard for anything sounding remotely modern, and—as they are wont to do—certain tracks are “inspired by” (to put it generously) other people’s songs (e.g.  Noel’s “AKA…Broken Arrow” lifts the verse melody from Duran Duran’s “The Chauffeur,” and Beady Eye’s “The Roller” crosses The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” with Lennon’s solo single “Instant Karma,” but at least they have excellent taste).

Ultimately, it must be accepted that neither album quite hits the heights of the early days since each feels like it’s missing something (which is each other), but replicating the magic of “Wonderwall” or “Champagne Supernova” would be to dream the impossible dream anyway.  Predictably, Noel’s album contains the stronger melodies and production while Beady Eye rock harder and generally sound like they’re having a rollicking good time.  If you gave up on the Gallagher brothers after the stunningly boring Be Here Now back in 1997, it might be worth your while to reacquaint yourself.

So sit back, turn on the TV, tune it to one of the 8 channels carrying the Olympics, make yourself some bubble and squeak or toad in the hole, pour yourself a warm glass of Newcastle, and get your Brittania on!

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Dream On

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA…What A Life!

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – The Death Of You And Me

Beady Eye – The Roller

Beady Eye – Bring The Light

Beady Eye – Millionaire

By the by, if you’re already familiar with these albums, you may have noticed that I’m still trapped reviewing albums from 2011.  Just a couple more weeks. I promise. 

2 thoughts on “Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds & Beady Eye – Different Gear, Still Speeding

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