So finally the Brothers Grimm have gone head to head. Ever since Noel flounced out of Oasis we have been waiting for this moment. Liam got his shot in first with Beady Eye’s ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ released earlier this year and now we have brother Noel’s offering, ‘Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’. So now we have both to compare and contrast, how do they fair?
First up, let me say how respectful Liam has been in gathering together the remnants of Oasis and rising from the ashes in a different guise, that of Beady Eye. It would have been all too easy to carry on using the Oasis brand with all the global goodwill that entailed. Lesser persons would have done just that but a clean break, at least in name, has opened a new chapter and avoided a whole heap of prolonged legal grief. Unfortunately, it hasn’t quite worked out to plan as DGSS is dangerously close to being just what they were trying to avoid, the reheated leftovers of a once-great band (at least for a couple of albums, anyway).
I’m afraid that despite one or two decent moments, I can’t really get on with DGSS and find it rather insipid. Overall, it all sounds a bit tired and a tad dated. Whilst the songs are entering new territory, the sound of the band is, well, a bit Oasis-like and not being a huge fan, I’ve had enough of them now. I need something different. Perhaps Liam would’ve been better off gathering some fresh talent around him?
Which, of course, is what Noel has done. OK, so most of them are old friends, but at least they are not Oasis. Noel has the opposite problem in that although his band doesn’t sound too much like Oasis, his songs still do. I suppose he can’t really help that but then when Paul Weller left The Jam, his next project, the Style Council sounded nothing like his old band, so it can be done.
Nevertheless, NGHFB does have a bit more verve about it. There are the classic Gallagher trademarks – the ‘on the one’ up-tempo numbers and the epic ballads but there is a grandeur about it that sets it aside from Liam’s more down to earth rock ‘n’ roll. It’s as if he was straining to create something worthy to get back at his irksome brother. In a way, this album reminds me of The Teardrop Explodes’ ‘Wilder’. It too was Julian Cope’s attempt to broaden his horizon with brass and string arrangements yet still retaining the epic nature of his own song writing. Cope also was a big believer in the ‘on the one’ backbeat (exhibit A ‘World shut Your Mouth’, m’lud).
Although this probably isn’t it, I feel it in my bones that Noel has one great solo album in him. There is a sense of development in his song writing that implies different things to come. Let’s hope he can break a few of his own self-imposed barriers and pull it together in the not too distant future.
In conclusion, neither DGSS nor NGHFB is a classic but I’m hovering in the Noel camp for the time being.