Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

In 1996 there was no other band in the UK who could create ticket demand such as that of Oasis. They were at the height of their game culminating in playing to 250,000 people across two nights at Knebworth Park in the August.

At this point, Oasis had released two albums Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? containing songs entirely written by Noel Gallagher. Jump forward 15 years and Oasis has since disintegrated in a flurry of their typical media mis-quotes and arguments between the Gallagher brothers.

The remaining members of Oasis including Liam formed Beady Eye and have already released an album and toured the UK. Noel waited two full years from Oasis’ demise before releasing any new material. This album is the fruits of that hiatus.

“Everybody’s On The Run” starts the album well with a slow build and the sort of catchy chorus you would expect, yet never quite reaching the heights you want it to. The track is perfectly perfunctory in getting things off the ground, and there is little to complain about other than it’s fairly average. Following track “Dream On” is where the immediate connection from more recent Noel-led Oasis songs such as “The Importance of Being Idle” is obvious.

As the album progresses the mood juxtaposes between the slow and forlorn ‘classic 90’s Noel ballad’ and the more upbeat stompers you associate with their 2000’s output. All the songs on this album build to a great chorus, and an instant like-ability.  These two main styles thread throughout the ten tracks on the album,  yet fit so perfectly together.

“Death of You and Me”, “If I Had A Gun”, and “Stop The Clocks” are the standout tracks for me, but nothing here is filler. Although there is nothing new in terms of style – Noel hasn’t suddenly embraced German Techno, or pushed the boundaries of modern music – he has produced something akin to that which he became famous for. Sure, over time the quality of output was weakened when all members of Oasis started contributing songs for the band’s albums. Here he doesn’t have to kowtow to such internal struggles and the difference is clear, if entirely familiar throughout.

What isn’t present is Liam’s snarl, his inimitable vocal growl, the attitude and swagger. However, Noel has put together an album which encompasses all that made his songwriting be included in all CD collections during the Britpop-era, and here has proved without doubt that he was the driving force in a band which reached such heady heights.

Many have asked recently whether this album is better than brother Liam’s Beady Eye album? Simply put, Yes. Hell, it’s better than some Oasis albums!!

Gareth Fraser
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5 thoughts on “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

  1. I never liked Oasis, even back in the early days when they were at their best. I have however found myself enjoying the few Oasis tracks that had Noel on vocals, so I’ll give this a whirl

    • In truth I always had a preference to the ‘Noel tracks’ on Oasis albums and B-Sides and also love the MTV Unplugged gig from 96 when Liam had a “sore throat”. Looking forward to seeing Noel live next week.

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