Noel sees the whole of the moon

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

Na­tional: Sleep Well Beast. Great al­bum, great band. As Pitch­fork’s con­tribut­ing ed­i­tor Jayson Greene put it of the stately drama of Sleep Well Beast: “It is full of aban­don and quiet con­tem­pla­tion as Matt Berninger sings not about how to en­joy life, but how to sim­ply en­dure it.” And then some. “Why are we still out here hold­ing our coats? We look like chil­dren. Good­byes al­ways take us half an hour. Can’t we just go home?” sings Mr Berninger on No­body Else Will Be There from one of the best al­bums of 2017. Or any year.

Gal­lagher’s High Fly­ing Birds: Who Built the Moon? His de­trac­tors re­ally had the knives out for him this time around, on what was NGHFB’S third al­bum — but Who Built the Moon? was a brave, even rad­i­cal sonic shape-shift from the for­mer Oa­sis man.

It was such a mu­si­cal de­par­ture in parts — for Holy Moun­tain think not Ricky Martin’s She Bangs but glammed-up hey­day David Bowie, for It’s a Beau­ti­ful World think Spir­i­tu­al­ized, for Wed­nes­day Part 1 think Quentin Tarantino, for She Taught Me How to Fly think some­thing de­cid­edly un-noel. In to­tal, you had to take your hat, or your parka, off to him.

This was in­spir­ing stuff, courtesy of col­lab­o­ra­tor David Holmes, and with help from his friends. (Paul Weller and Johnny Marr — or Uri Geller and Har Mar Su­per­star, as Liam dubs them — both make ap­pear­ances on Who Built the Moon?).

“I’m at a peak,” Noel told me last sum­mer in Lon­don. “Some kind of peak. And peaks are only rel­e­vant to the troughs, right? So you’re down here one minute and up here the next. So I’m at some f ***ing kind of peak. How high that peak is, I don’t know, but it is the first time in my life that I feel that I have come to that con­clu­sion.

“And how I re­act to it from here on in,” Noel added, in­trigu­ingly, “is go­ing to be fas­ci­nat­ing.”

Plant: Carry Fire. Carry Fire, with his band the Sen­sa­tional Space Shifters — and his first re­lease since 2014’s Lul­laby and... The Cease­less Roar — sees the Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­derer draw in­spi­ra­tion from the roots mu­sic of Mis­sis­sippi, Ap­palachia, Gam­bia, Bris­tol and the foothills of Wolver­hamp­ton and be­yond along the way.

His 11th solo al­bum has every­thing from Chrissie Hynde duet­ting on a psychedelic cover of Ersel Hickey’s 1958 clas­sic Blue­birds Over the Moun­tain to Carv­ing Up the World Again … a Wall and Not a Fence, the mas­ter singing about “em­per­ors and sul­tans, kings and pres­i­dents/ Dic­ta­tors and am­bas­sadors en­gaged in our de­fence”.

He once de­clared that his de­sire to sing as he does came from a mo­ment in his youth.

“When I saw Sleepy John Estes and heard that voice —part pain, part oth­er­worldly — I went, ‘I want that voice’.” And “singing like a girl never seemed so mas­cu­line”, as Rolling Stone mag­a­zine put it.

Not least on the ti­tle track where the old le­mon squeezer him­self sings: “I carry fire for you/ Here in my naked hands/ I bare my heart to you.”

More Life. Twenty-two tracks and 82 min­utes; not an al­bum... a mix­tape, be­gorra. The Ge­orge Clin­ton/pFunk of his gen­er­a­tion pro­pels into outer-space with a galaxy of di­verse, even kalei­do­scopic grooves: every­thing from Giggs (the UK grime artist was out­stand­ing at Elec­tric Pic­nic last year) to Skepta to Kanye West and back again.

On Lose You, Drake sings “Win­ning is prob­lem­atic/ Peo­ple like it more when you workin’ to­ward some­thin’/ Not when you have it.” And then: “I’ll prob­a­bly self-de­struct if I ever lose, but I never do.” All this, and his dad on the cover too.

Water­boys: This Blue. Up there with 1984’s A Pa­gan Place or 1988’s Fish­er­man’s Blues. Mys­tic Mike. Magic Mike. The Live Mike.

Out of All

Barry Egan com­pletes his Top 10 best al­bum list of 2017, fea­tur­ing ev­ery­one from The Na­tional to Drake and Noel Gal­lagher…

Clock­wise from be­low, Noel Gal­lagher, Mike Scott of The Water­boys, Robert Plant, Drake and The Na­tional

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.