Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Sour Mash, 2011

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Following the dissolution of Oasis after the excellent Dig Out Your Soul album, the Gallagher brothers went their separate ways. Actually, Noel Gallagher went his separate way, while the remaining trio formed Beady Eye, which has released two discs as of summer 2013.

Noel opted for the solo route, unsurprisingly, and came up with a sound that draws heavily from his time in Oasis. Given his penchant for layers of sound, the resulting record comes off a little bit like a tamed my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Be Here Now, though filtered through the wised-up sound and style of Dig Out Your Soul. The craft is there, the songs are solid, and a few melodies pop out, but the record as a whole values style over substance.

Moreover, there is a definite lack of the swagger and hubris that always made for a great Oasis song. Noel can create the sounds, adding on strings and keyboards and guitar layers, but Liam always seemed to bring out the competitive side, the desire for greatness. Think John to Paul, Roger Daltrey to Pete Townshend, even Keith Richard’s grounding to Mick’s flamboyance and showmanship. A good bit of tension, musical and/or personal, can create great art just as much as everybody being on the same page, and little of that tension is found here.

Because Noel is so talented, the album is still entertaining, tending to sound and feel a bit like latter-day Oasis. In fact, “Stop the Clocks” is a holdover from those days, and the solid “Everybody’s On the Run” would have been a better opener for Soul than “Bag It Up.” Also of note is “Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks,” the most exciting track here.

Most of the rest is midtempo variations on things Noel has already done, which seems both redundant and out of step with what one would expect. Britpop and Oasis fans will probably find a few things here to appreciate, but very little that sticks in the head, heart and ass the way Noel’s best songs often do. Rather than soar, these High Flying Birds only hover – albeit while sounding great – and that’s a shame.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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