Noel’s solo flight takes wing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

OUT­SPO­KEN Bri­tish mu­si­cian Noel Gal­lagher could have called his first solo al­bum Life Af­ter Liam.

Af­ter 20 years to­gether as one of the self- pro­claimed ‘‘ great­est bands ever’’, Noel doesn’t need his brother to sing his songs any more.

It’s a sub­jec­tive mat­ter of taste, but I’d sug­gest Noel has al­ways had a more palat­able tone any­way. Maybe he never needed Liam’s nasal whine.

High Fly­ing Birds is not ex­actly the sta­dium rock ’ n’ roll that Oa­sis fans are ac­cus­tomed to.

How­ever, it’s a top- qual­ity set through and through, with rarely a flat mo­ment.

The al­bum opens with the grand Ev­ery­body’s On The Run, a song about a cou­ple try­ing to es­cape a bad sit­u­a­tion.

It’s a theme that pops up all over the record. And it’s easy to re­late to as ev­ery­one is look­ing for some­thing, which has al­ways been the ge­nius of his ‘‘ ev­ery man’’ song­writ­ing style.

The cher­ries on this song’s cake are the huge choir and beau­ti­ful or­ches­tra.

Never afraid of lift­ing ideas from clas­sic bands of the past, he doesn’t bat an eye­lid at kick­ing off swing­ing bal­lad The Death of You and Me with a Joe Cocker- es­que: ‘‘ High time, sum­mer in the city . . .’’

The song is am­bi­tious and a lit­tle ex­per­i­men­tal for him with its horns, trum­pet, trom­bone and sax­o­phone. There are more lyrics about run­ning away, es­capism and hop­ing for some­thing bet­ter.

Song six is the first real sur­prise, a stomp­ing slice of rock in­spired by youth­ful nights out in Manch­ester’s heady, late 1980s club scene.

The build- ups, fil­tered drums, melan­cholic cho­rus and in­sis­tent pi­ano chords have got Noel writ­ten all over them but with touch­stones that in­clude acid house, Rhythm Is Rhythm and the Stone Roses.

AKA . . . What a Life is a song that would never have made the fi­nal cut on an Oa­sis al­bum.

Tak­ing a break from the heav­ier themes for a minute is Dream On, a fun rocker with pound­ing pi­anos and tidy gui­tar licks, big and fun.

As Oa­sis mem­bers, the Gal­lagher broth­ers courted con­flict and the ten­sion be­tween them helped cre­ate some mas­ter­ful mu­sic. The fear for High Fly­ing Birds was that Noel couldn’t do it at that level with­out his bro to an­noy him. Turns out that fear was un­founded, this al­bum is a roar­ing suc­cess.

Not that there was ever much doubt, but at home in the UK the al­bum hit the No. 1 spot on de­but sell­ing 120,000 copies, about 40 per cent more than the X Fac­tor singer at No. 2.

It was also near dou­ble what Liam’s band Beady Eye man­aged ear­lier this year, not that the pair would be com­pet­i­tive.

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