Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – [Album]

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Solo albums from talented artists can be a dangerous business. Mick Jagger, Scott Weiland, Axl Rose (yes, I consider the recent GNR album in this category) all shine when they're paired up with their talented sidekicks but, when they step out alone to prove how great they are, we're often left wondering what we saw in them. Some readers might say that Ringo Starr would be a better example than Mick, but I'll stand by that statement; I would have happily traded in Goddess in the Doorway for another so-so Stones album. The point is that some artists just need that yang to their yin and now Noel Gallagher, the better half of the famously feuding brothers that once made up Oasis, has put together a solo album of his own to prove that he should be added to the aforementioned list of celebrated artists too.

For those who miss the happy-go-lucky days of the mid-Nineties, when Oasis reigned over a new wave of British pop music, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds may be just what you've been wishing for. However, for those who never quite got into Oasis (myself included), Birds will probably just amount to another solo album which will come and go without making a blip on your radar.
That's not to say there isn't some quality music on this album though. Noel, who's always been touted as the musical maestro behind brother Liam, shows that he hasn't lost his spark a decade and a half since "Wonderwall" was released. There are even a few tracks, such as "(I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine,” where you could close your eyes and practically convince yourself that you've discovered some lost Oasis tracks from their prime years. "AKA… Broken Arrow" is another example of a talented songwriter proving that he's still around and he still knows his chops.
There's no disputing that there are song quality songs to be found on Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, but where the album lost me a bit was with songs like opening track "Everybody's On The Run" and first single "The Death Of You And Me." Both were decent songs, but became weighed down as grander productions than they needed to be. At times I would have preferred Noel with just an acoustic guitar instead of the horns and strings and effects which try to make his songs into a grand spectacle as is often the case here.
As I listened to this album, I had flashbacks to a decade ago when I discovered Chris Cornell's first solo album, Euphoria Morning. I enjoyed it, as it provided a temporary fix to my Soundgarden withdrawals, but there was no doubt that his one-man show could never crank out classics like "Outshined" or "Black Hole Sun.” Cornell's album also suffered from over-production which complicated songs that would otherwise be beautiful if kept simple. Still, with one of my favorite bands dissolved, I was willing to take what I could get.
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds will perhaps partially fill that void in your soul left by Oasis' departure, assuming that you ever gave a damn about Oasis. This album will likely be a bigger hit overseas, but I don't really expect to hear any of these songs on the radio fifteen years from now, like we do today with "Champagne Supernova.”



Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' self-titled debut is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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