james debate
james debate

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Genre Rock
Label Beady Eye Records
Producer Steve Lillywhite
Release Date 28th February

different gear still speeding beady eye

Liam Gallagher is the first comeback kid of 2011. Best known for his work as the frontman of 90s brit-pop sensation Oasis, most fans will nevertheless tell you that sibling Noel was the brains behind the majority of the band's hits, while Liam's role was to provide the charisma.

That being the case it may come as a surprise that this debut album from Liam's new band is actually quite good. Sometimes it takes a shock to the system to revitalise an artist, and the unexpected collapse of Oasis in 2009 certainly seems to have done the trick here.

While the music here never hits the heights of early Oasis and the likes of Wonderwall or Don't Look Back in Anger, it far exceeds the stagnant plod of their recent work. At it's best, Different Gear, Still Speeding is fresh and creatively diverse, while exhibiting a far greater level of nuance than anything we've seen from Liam in the past ten years.

The music beats with the telltale influence of classic masters such as the Who, the Rolling Stones and of course Liam's favorite inspiration the Beatles. But perhaps what impresses most about this latest work is his willingness to break away from the archetypes of which Liam has come to be expected, sometimes to the point of outcry among his fans as was the case with the high tempo debut single Bring the Light, which seamlessly blends an unexpected jaunty fifties piano riff with more modern pop sensibilities.

We catch a peek of Liam's gentler side with the excellently chilled For Anyone. Serving as a bridge between the boisterous, hard-rocking first half of the album and the more melodic second, the song channels the instantly catchy and light-hearted pop of the Beatles with staccato acoustic chords, playful bass line and airy vocals.

Wigwam, meanwhile, is pure John Lennon. One of the more musically evocative songs Liam has written, this serves as a highlight of the album. The music builds gently during the first half of the track, but gives little hint of the cathartic climax which awaits as Liam seems to vent the sum of recent struggles and shows us a falsetto which I for one didn't know he had in him.

Three Ring Circus takes us once again in a completely different direction, with a bluesy number that oozes classic rock, the undoubted pinnacle of the album follows with The Beat Goes On. Another unashamedly Beatles-inspired track, by all accounts they may just have perfected the sound here. Certainly the best song on the album, probably the best to come from a Gallagher since Don't Look Back in Anger.

The album finishes with another strong number in The Morning Son, a soulful and epic track that begins with faint acoustic murmurs but slowly progresses into a full on psychedelic belter. A perfect closer.

If this first effort is anything to go by, Liam Gallagher is certainly back in the limelight of the music scene after many years in the dark. The varied talents on show here bode well for the future of this latest musical project, and certainly come together in one of the stronger albums yet released in 2011.

Must Listen
The Beat Goes On

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Bring the Light

The Morning Son

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