The Chief Returneth

Posted: September 26, 2011 in Rock of Ages
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We are a few weeks away from the release of the album Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The words highly and anticipated would be used here but you can take that as a given. When Noel’s former group imploded so publicly and the Brothers Gallagher went their separate ways everyone waited to see what roads each took but the writing was already on the wall; Liam carried on driving in a new motor made of trusted parts. It’s good that they continued, there is an audience out there for them. There are some that will like both Noel’s and Liam’s offerings, some that like either and some that like neither. The latter lot probably don’t think Oasis did anything remotely noteworthy after 1995.

When writing about the Stone Roses in 2002, John McCready, “If Mike Lowe’s Beach Boys were playing in my back garden I’d draw the curtains and call the police. Conversely and importantly, I would queue for miles to see Brian Wilson.”

He argues that The Who was “nothing more than a name” as soon as Keith Moon died and that the Stone Roses lost the magic the minute Reni called it quits. He’s careful not to doubt replacement Robbie Maddix’s talent but McCready is right, when it’s over it’s over so we can be glad Oasis has breathed its last because without Noel, it would not be the same.
Liam Gallagher’s new band and new album came out to a bit of a “meh” from yours truly. I wasn’t bothered. I heard it but it doesn’t do anything for me. At a certain point in Oasis albums I became less interested in what Liam was doing with his part of the band and more interested in which directions Noel was going in.

Building on McCready’s point (aka stealing and changing the names): If Liam Gallagher’s band were singing live at Heaton Park, close to my house, I would not attend. Conversely, and importantly, I would book any available transport and put up with any venue in that London to see Noel Gallagher. You can’t create that. You know what creates that? The spark that made Oasis fans clammer for the Noel demos from Standing on the Shoulders of Giants over ten years ago. Then there’s the craving to hear Stop the Clocks and the tease that was the compilation of that same name, which didn’t feature it. The interviews about the scrapped album, the first time we read about the amazing song (I Want to Live in a Dream In My) Record Machine – brackets are interchangeable by the way, some just call the song Record Machine. You may have read the interview; it was in NME, when it was first mentioned. You may have heard the demo of it; it’s around on the internet.

THAT is what creates the feeling. The feeling that music needs this Noel Gallagher album, we need to see what Noel has shown glimpses of (literally, when you think of the sound checks) for years. We saw what Liam had to offer and it’s very commendable, I hope he goes on to achieve greatness in his own musical right. I think he can. I know Noel will.

Some may argue that he already has, that his own musical right is that band he left. That’s up to you all reading this right now. Standing on the Shoulder of Giants is an important album when you think about it. Because it was recorded after the departure of Bonehead and Guigsy, largely by Noel (with Alan White on drums) it arguably gave us the first glimpse of what a solo offering from him would be like. Also on that album is Liam’s first Oasis song, Little James.

Soon it’s all over, the questions will be answered, maybe Noel’s birds will fly as high as many expect and maybe they wont. He would not be releasing this collection if he doubted it at all. He will tell us it’s amazing, the same as Liam told us his was the best debut since some band recorded Definitely Maybe. Liam also told frequently that each new Oasis album was the best thing since Definitely Maybe, or at a push (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

And who was it that wrote both of those in their entirety? Brilliantly delivered, amazingly presented, captured a generation together, yes, but it was all built on the shoulders of one man. And he has a solo album out next month. We are all ready to hear it, it’s been waiting long enough.

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