The 2000s were like a lingering hangover for the brothers Gallagher. After reaching the peak of superstardom early in their career, they almost single-handedly destroyed all of their goodwill with a pompous, coke-fueled yet lead-weighted album; ‘Be Here Now’ (though its poor quality is extremely debatable for some). Since then, with the exception of a handful of excellent singles, their output has been spotty at best. Mercifully they called it a day after Noel Gallagher walked out after a concert in 2008.
Perhaps it was for the best, because now the rest of Oasis is able to carry on as Beady Eye—freeing them and us from the expectations of another Oasis album. It seems to have done the lads wonders and provided this still young year with a romping good (if shallow at times) rock record.
When the guitars come screaming in during the opener “Four Letter Word”, one is bound to think, “Oh, the lads are back at it again, same guitar bravado, same sneer and swagger from Liam.” But it’s impossible not to notice these Mancunians haven’t sounded so effortless in their bravado since ‘(What’s the Story?) Morning Glory’. It announces the arrival of a new beginning, and one much more in-line with the spirit that drove the original incarnation of their former band. “Millionaire” keeps things chugging along with some nice slide guitar blues licks and a tuneful sing-song chorus. It doesn’t necessarily sound like another song but…familiar. And then comes “The Roller”, which this author dares you to listen to without thinking of “All You Need Is Love” or “Instant Karma,” proving Liam is once again mining the songbook of his musical hero, to surprisingly quality results. It’s a great song to be sure, but this is where the album settles into a sense of “familiarity” in the way the songs pay homage to its forbearers. If people claimed Oasis wore their influences on their sleeves, Beady Eye wears them like a sequenced Union Jack blouse.
Not necessarily a bad thing if done right, and they keep the rollicking good times rolling with, pointedly enough “Beatles and Stones,” where he decrees he will stand the test of time like his heroes, even shouting a “get back!” It’s not until the listener reaches “Bring the Light” when it dawns that this is, while familiar, a completely different, albeit more traditional approach as Jerry-Lee Lewis style piano chords are bashed out and back-up singers tell you “baby come on.” It’s completely new territory for the guys and a sound that should be further explored in subsequent releases.
The middle of the album floats by pleasantly enough with the exception of what is the only outright dud of the bunch, “Standing on the Edge of the Noise.” This track reminds one of all the things that grated people about Oasis: self-assured yet utterly nonsensical lyrics, a shouted chorus of said nonsense, while the whole thing blares out the speakers like a blast of white noise, totally lacking in dynamics. One can almost see Liam giving his patented stare at the crowd during the guitar solo. Almost apologetically “Wigwam” is next: a six-minute long psychedelic “mood piece” that pleasurably drifts by the listener and is gone before realizing six minutes have passed. People who felt tortured by “All Around The World,” over-staying it’s welcome don’t worry, this one actually adds quite a bit to the overall feel of the album and is a great addition.
It’s not until the final track, “The Morning Son” that the listener is finally clued into what this album is really all about—seagulls cry and the tide ebbs and flows. Never mind that this is a noble but ultimately middling attempt at a Noel-esque track of “meaning.” This is not the pint-chugging rowdy times album one would have expected. This is a spring/summer album—a poolside soundtrack. Therein lies the beauty of this whole affair: it’s something to put on then go back to having fun with friends; it is not an intensely personal affair like a new Radiohead album. For that sort of easy-breezy setting this album is fantastic and will probably get regular rotation in the coming months. It doesn’t matter that the lyrics don’t say much or that there are no “new” sounds here, what matters is it positively shimmers with effortless fun. And we could all use a little fun listening.
Written by Jarad Matula