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You are here:  Skip Navigation LinksHome » Artists Reviews » Show Artist Review
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Dave Simpson  -  27 Nov 2011 02:43:PM
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With the generation-defining excellence of Oasis now but a distant memory, and Liam Gallagher stinking up the airwaves with the sub-pub rock of Beady Eye, it's now brother Noel's turn to make a grab for past glories with the release of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.
Gallagher has already released two rather excellent singles from the album in the shape of country-tinged anthem The Death of You and Me, and the hypnotic rolling rock of AKA... What a Life! and the rest of the record follows this template of loud guitars, looping baselines, strong melodies, mediocre lyrics, and Noel's speciality - instantly familiar choruses that demand a sing-along.
Proceedings kick off with a Gallagher epic in the shape of Everybody's on the Run, a song that sets the tone for the album by being bathed in lush strings that lend the tune a cinematic sheen that continues throughout the record. The words are the usual banal Noel-isms - all 'holding on' and 'being strong' - but then again no one bought Oasis albums for their deep and meaningful lyrics either.
 It is however infused with the kind of optimism and positivity that permeates his past work, and that mood is carried over into Dream On, a song that details a grim existence in the verse but offers hope in the chorus, another Gallagher speciality.
 His voice is as weedy as ever - there's a reason why Noel left the bulk of the singing to Liam back in the day - but it does at least feel heartfelt when he endeavours to belt out the lyrics.
And what a mixed bag those lyrics are. Wild west imagery is peppered throughout the album, most notably on If I Had a Gun, in which Noel searches for a firearm to shoot the sun (avoiding the high flying birds in the process we hope).
Death and religion are also frequently bedfellows throughout, and set against a backdrop of long journeys and wide open vistas, it feels like Noel has raiding the spaghetti western cupboard and the Enio Morricone shelf for inspiration.
That's not to say he's forgotten his Beatles-obsessed past however, with Soldier Boys, Jesus Freaks straight out of the Fab Four song-book. With its talk of 'lonely souls' 'village greens' and 'holy men' the song harks back to Lennon-McCartney classic Eleanor Rigby, but lacks a suitably rousing chorus to put it in that league.
Elsewhere there are a couple of dirges in the shape of Stop the Clocks and (I Wanna Live in My Dream In My) Record Machine, but Noel does get his groove back on AKA Broken Arrow and (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach, two of the funkiest tunes that Gallagher has ever recorded.



 
 
 
 
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