What’s going on? I’m agreeing with Noel Gallagher. As he undertakes a promotional campaign that would make Ant & Dec squint, he’s upsetting everyone but me. He thinks music shouldn’t be free, he likes U2’s Every Breaking Wave, thinks all political parties probably have something to offer, has Future Islands supporting his upcoming gig and would rather drink petrol than listen to Arctic Monkeys, possibly due to it now being cheaper than beer. Oasis, the thinking man’s Showaddywaddy, encapsulated Britpop as they stole lads away from rave’s futuristic repetitive beats back to rock.
Liam’s legacy is a generation of men singing with hands behind their back while wishing they’d lowered the microphone. I’m guessing he hopes it’s enough to encourage buyers of his clothing range and give his life some purpose beyond avoiding paternity lawsuits in the States. You’ve got to feel for him: a front man without a songwriter, an actor without lines.
Meanwhile, his brother Noel Gallagher, the songwriter Liam so sorely misses, is promoting his new Chasing Yesterday album, via watching TV with supermodels, slagging off whichever band he last saw in the press and releasing teaser tracks. And this is the revelation. For someone who likes to talk, his music speaks louder. Oasis were so blokey that they only made sense while someone threw flat lager in your face. Live Forever was good, until they sounded like a band trapped in ever decreasing circles, and Liam’s voice began losing its battle with hedonism. Harder to forgive is what they influenced; sometimes it’s a better idea to inspire people to put guitars down, then picking them up. Bands such as Ocean Colour Scene and Feeder retreated so far into 60s Mersey beat that they’re still having mobile phones and contactless payment explained to them to this day.
However, Noel has since progressed from side 2 of The Beatles Revolver. AKA…What a life from his debut album was even based upon the piano riff of Hacienda classic Rhythm is Rhythm’s Strings Of Life; while not exactly embracing dance music, it at least nodded nearby at the bar. Scrapping 2013’s much-vaulted album produced by Future Sound of London (as Amorphous Androgynous) suggested another retreat to the past, but apparently it simply wasn’t good enough. Which leaves the current Ballad of the Mighty I featuring Johnny Marr, as cue to Noel’s open mind. Its guitar lines are reminiscent of Marr’s work with Pet Shop Boys and Bryan Ferry. Although its classic funk is not as groundbreaking as Gallagher claims, it’s an excellent example of loping lounge rock, and the best thing he’s done.
Chances are this experimentation will extend to little more than the much heralded saxophone appearance on the track Riverman (the longest awaited sax since Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street), but you have to hand it to Noel for enlarging his musical palette. And that phone ringing? Pick it up Noel, it’s Liam, he wants a song. I’m sure you can knock one out called Swallowing (My Pride)? if only it didn’t sound so rude.
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