Liam tries not to look back in anger

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - ART & MUSIC -

ON April 11, 1994, Liam Gal­lagher gave ev­ery young kid, from the coun­cil es­tates to the leafy ham­lets, a per­son­alised mantra that still rings bril­liantly true to this day: “I need to be my­self/i can’t be no one else.”

All these years later Liam is still pretty much that, an equal parts Bur­nage John Len­non/john Ly­don spoil­ing for a fight with the world, or more prob­a­bly, his big brother Noel (Liam has be­ing di­rect­ing cryptic-and-not-so-cryptic in­sults morn­ing, noon and night at his more suc­cess­ful sib seem­ingly ever since Noel quit Oa­sis in Au­gust 2009 after a dress­ing room tete-a-tete in Paris which re­sulted in Liam swing­ing a gui­tar at Noel’s head; with Noel walk­ing out, never to re­turn.)

“In my de­fence, all my in­ten­tions were good/and heaven holds a place some­where for the mis­un­der­stood,” Liam sings, in­trigu­ingly, on For What It’s Worth from his long-awaited de­but solo al­bum As You Were. The afore­men­tioned track bears more than a pass­ing re­sem­blance to All You Need Is Love by The Bea­tles and the at­ti­tude of the song owes a large debt to Don’t Look Back In Anger by a cer­tain band. Not least when Liam sings, pos­si­bly in the di­rec­tion of Noel: “Let’s leave the past be­hind with all our sor­rows/i’ll build a bridge be­tween us and I’ll swal­low my pride.”

It seems like Liam Gal­lagher has been fronting a 24-hour cam­paign on Twit­ter to pro­mote his first solo al­bum for an eter­nity. So it is good to fi­nally hear As You Were. The mono-browed work­ing-class By­ron-in-aparka whom Q magazine anointed as the Great­est Front-man of All Time in 2009 is mag­nif­i­cently men­ac­ing in parts (“You’ve got your kiss and tell/i hope you go to hell” he sings on Greedy Soul.) Other places he man­i­fests sheer, undi­luted joy. “An­gels, gimme shel­ter/’cause I’m about to fall/it’s all gone hel­ter-skel­ter,” he swoons on You Bet­ter Run. There is also an “all things must pass”, and a “to­mor­row never knows” lyric some­where, of course.

On Chi­na­town, we get an­other cryptic, Bea­tles-y glimpse in­side Liam’s up­side down view of the planet, with the lyrics: “Well, the cops are tak­ing over/while ev­ery­one’s in yoga/’cause hap­pi­ness is still a warm gun.” The lat­ter ref­er­ences to The Bea­tles are even more ob­vi­ous on Pa­per Crown, with its Fab Four sound. Bea­tle-es­que melodies cou­pled with the swag­ger of hey­day Stones, Liam wears his 1960s in­flu­ences on his sleeves. “She’s so pur­ple haze,” he sings on When I’m in Need.

Even though he still sings with the pas­sion of a man who re­cently told The Ob­server “Rock ’n’ roll saved my life”, you are some­how al­ways left with the dis­ap­point­ing sense that this isn’t vin­tage Liam, pos­si­bly be­cause that would be in Oa­sis back in 1995.

So pas­tiche or homage to his he­roes? That de­pends on whether you think Liam Gal­lagher is a largely pre­dictable, and an­noy­ingly histri­onic sub-len­non oik or the real mad-for-it deal.

As Amanda Sil­ber­ling pointed out in her re­view in Con­se­quence of Sound of As You Were, it must be some­what dis­tress­ing for Liam be­cause “no mat­ter what he cre­ates, he will never be al­lowed to match the songs he wrote in 1995” (in­deed, Amanda also hit the nail on the head when she wrote that the two al­bums Gal­lagher recorded with his post-oa­sis fail­ure Beady Eye shaped up to be noth­ing more “than medi­ocre at­tempts at re­cap­tur­ing the gran­diose ap­peal that made Oa­sis su­per­stars”.).

The bru­tal truth is that first solo al­bum As You Were is a lot bet­ter than his de­trac­tors thought it would be and not quite as bril­liant as its cre­ator tells the world it is in the press. That still makes As You Were one of the bet­ter al­bums of 2017 thus far.

How the world will judge As You Were against Noel Gal­lagher’s soon­ish al­bum Who Built the Moon? only time will tell.

With his cryptic de­but solo al­bum, Liam Gal­lagher falls some­where be­tween pas­tiche and homage to his he­roes, writes Barry Egan ‘It’s a lot bet­ter than his de­trac­tors thought it would be’

It seems like Liam Gal­lagher has been fronting a 24-hour cam­paign to pro­mote his first solo al­bum for an eter­nity

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