As You Were

Liam Gallagher

Warner Brothers, 2017

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Remember Beady Eye? Much like The Doors, they lasted all of two albums when a key member was no longer part of the group, and those two albums have been all but forgotten in both cases. Four years after 2013’s Be, Liam Gallagher decided to return to action with his first proper solo album. It comes 23 years after Oasis’ debut and enlists the help of American pop producers Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt to help write eight of the 12 songs.

To hear him tell it – if you get past the insults – Liam is simply searching for a band, but because there isn’t one, he called in professional help to give the songs the push that he couldn’t (or, more bluntly, that Noel used to give them back in the day). And because Liam will always fit into one comfortable sound, any preconceived notions about this disc that you have are likely true.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The rockers are huge, multi-layered, mostly midtempo, and feature grandiose-sounding but vaguely meaningless lyrics (so, Oasis). Mixed in are some slower ballads that have been debated by various fans and critics; some dislike the approach, but many think they’re among the album’s highlights. I fall into the former camp, not because they’re bad songs, but because the faster ones are clearly where Liam’s passion lies. Plus, starting a White Album soundalike called “For What It’s Worth” with the lyrics “For what it’s worth / My intentions were good” is bound for a chuckle instead of reflection (Liam, we’ve read your Twitter feed). “Chinatown” is probably the best of the bunch, not lyrically, but certainly in the minimalist music; it’s an area Liam that should explore further.

When he shakes off the Beatles homages and ghosts of Britpop past, the disc comes to life. The jumpy “You Better Run” and “Greedy Soul” are two highlights, with Kurstin ably supplementing Liam’s well-known attitude with modern rock flair. “Wall Of Glass” is a fine single and opening song. It’s not as punchy as the other two, but it seems to bridge the gap between Oasis and As You Were. Buried toward the end, “I Get By” is a simple yet effective rocker with the self-referencing line “I never hold back from the truth.” At least now he’s being honest.

Taken as a whole, the album shows Liam and his producers can write a solo album that at least hangs with Noel’s High Flying Birds project and that seems like a logical extension of the latter-day Oasis and two Beady Eye albums. Liam makes no secret that he uses the Beatles, Stones and such as his main inspiration, but that he wants it to sound modern and to do it his way. On that level he succeeds. As You Were is not exactly a triumph, but it’s no nostalgia trip at all. It’s a strong, attitude-filled modern rock record worth checking out.

Rating: B

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