[one_half last=”yes”]NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS
Label: Sour Mash Records/ Indigo
02. In The Heat Of The Moment
03. The Girl With X-Ray Eyes
04. Lock All The Doors
05. The Dying Of The Light
06. The Right Stuff
07. While The Song Remains The Same
08. The Mexican
09. You Know We Can’t Go Back
10. Ballad Of The Mighty I
NBHAP Rating: 4,8/5
There must have been a moment of relief in the life of Noel Gallagher somewhere during the past years. We just don’t know when exactly it occurred. Was it that faithful night in late August 2009 when he stormed out of the backstage area in Paris, jumped in a taxi and got aware of the fact that he just quit OASIS? Or was it the fact that he played a celebrated and extended tour with his new ‘band’ (which is basically him) NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS in 2011 and 2012 while receiving mostly positive feedback for their self-titled debut album? Or was it the moment when he decided to produce the record’s follow-up, Chasing Yesterday, on his own? Or was it when Manchester City finally won the English championship after decades of despair? Somewhere along the way a switch flipped, Noel Gallagher stepped out of the shadow of OASIS and the childish excesses of his brother Liam and became full aware of his own legacy and status in the British music history. And if there was any pressure left by then if might automatically have fallen off the Mancunian. Chasing Yesterday is the impressive testament of that newly found freedom and a true masterpiece, nothing more but nothing less.
It’s not as if Noel Gallagher ever lacked of something so trivial like self confidence but when you experience him in 2015 in some of his recent interviews it feels like he even gained more confidence over the past years. And he mixes that confidence with a certain ‘fuck it’-attitude. Relaxed, charming and packed with dry humour. Noel Gallagher run out of fucks to give. ‘One of them’s got a moustache, and that’s unacceptable,’ he recently explained his disinterest in ALT-J and that sums it up pretty well. You can ask him about a potential OASIS reunion for the thousandth time he will just give you a nonsense answer. In the year of the 20th anniversary of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? one of Britain’s most influential songwriters arrived in the hear and now while also heavily embracing the past. It might seem fitting to call the new album Chasing Yesterday. NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS don’t even want to reinvent the wheel. Noel Gallagher still sounds like Noel Gallagher, his songwriting didn’t really change much in the past two decades. He’s playing it save in the most satisfying way. He just locked himself away for a few months, wrote dozens of songs and just releases the ten best of it as an album by furthermore making just a few adjustments. It sounds simple but not a good song doesn’t get easier once you’ve got Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back In Anger in your back catalogue.
Noel Gallagher run out of fucks to give
Chasing Yesterday will be a satisfying experience for all Gallagher lovers, OASIS ultras and delicate followers of good melodies. You will recognize countless references to his past work. Guitar sounds, bass melodies and even lyrics. And quite often even more. Riverman starts the record quite reduced but slowly builds up to become an epic folk-anthem, featuring clear nods to NEIL YOUNG. The Heat Of The Moment plays it save by becoming a radio-friendly piece of retro pop and maybe the only mediocre piece on the record. The Girl With X-Ray Eyes gets us back on track as the Britpop icon tells a psychedelic story of a fantasy one night stand. ‘She took me by the hand / We followed clues left in the sand as she swallowed space and time…’ he sings in the chorus while the world around him is drenched in dazzling colours. Space Oddity-era BOWIE would give his sign of approval. Lock All The Doors than accelerates the tempo. It’s one of those songs that would totally work as an OASIS tune once Liam would join the tune. But he’s actually not really missed since Noel’s voice is strong enough to carry the faster rock tunes as well. You Know We Can’t Go Back is another proof. He might not have Liam’s ‘stiff-upper-lip-frontman’-spirit but on the other side… it would be a bit unrealistic to assume that in your late 40s, right?
Still, NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS are best when they slow down the space and deliver those epic BEATLES-like ballads that are carried by the singer’s great ability to create haunting and irresistibly catchy melodies. The Dying Of The Light is such a big ballad. It is followed by The Right Stuff which sees Gallagher heading into an even farer out psychedelic direction, combined with a smooth jazz-like beat and a brass section as Gallagher sensually intonates a sweet ballad together with singer JOY ROSE. You haven’t heard him like this before. But you also haven’t heard him THAT good in years! An outstanding highlight. Same goes for While The Song Remains The Same and his sentimental melody. It’s just an impressive lesson on how to write a proper pop song in four minutes. ‘Find me a place where the sun shines through the rain / Find me the pleasure in the pain/ While the song remains the same,’ he sings as he revisits the streets of his childhood. Gallagher is not forcing the past to return but it’s an indispensable part of his personality and it shines through every song, creating a world on its own.
Noel Gallagher became the star of his own little galaxy, one that is build upon memories, cryptic tales of his fantasy that team up with countless influences. A family man who, according to his recent statements, is living quite an ordinary and sometimes even boring adult life. But every now and then the cage opens and NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS break loose and conquer the marmalade skies. ‘The colours around me are fading away / And I’ll be waiting, come what may,’ he states in the Ballad Of The Mighty I. It’s a definite statement of power and superiority that closes Chasing Yesterday. Recorded with the almighty JOHNNY MARR Gallagher and this pumping tune leave no doubt that he’s still the king in the ring. If you doubt his reign you just have to get past this unique character and his songs. In the end the songs might… well, remain the same in some form but it’s that mixture of constancy and stubbornness that makes the difference and keeps this lad on top of the game. An OASIS reunion couldn’t be further away at the moment and for the first time this is actually a good thing.
NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS deliver big music on ‘Chasing Yesterday’ as they underline the main protagonist’s special position as one of pop music’s greatest characters of all-time.