Tuesday’s Best: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
With Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, the former Oasis guitarist and songwriter presents both his long-anticipated solo debut and his counter serve to brother Liam’s Beady Eye. After a lengthy absence from his halcyon days atop the Brit Pop world, Gallagher’s star had faded a bit. In High Flying Birds, Gallagher recorded his best and most complete collection of songs since Oasis peaked in the mid-nineties and one of the five best albums of 2011.
Within the first minutes of opener “Everybody’s on the Run,” it’s clear that this is a different brand of music than we had been accustomed to from Oasis, as Noel seems to possess a greater sense of tone than his brother. After “Everybody’s on the Run,” High Flying Birds begins a run of songs that are much less anthemic and guitar-centric than Gallagher’s previous material. The biggest constant between the two phases of the elder Gallagher is his trademark lyrical sensibility, particularly on “The Death of You and Me” and “Dream On.”
Not to be overlooked is the quality of musicianship on the record. Drummer Jeremy Stacey is great throughout the album, most especially on “Everybody’s on the Run” and “If I Had a Gun.” Gallagher and Mike Rowe’s duel work on the keyboards in “AKA… What a Life!” is a nice change of pace as High Flying Birds begins it’s second half. Additionally, the horn section which comes in on “The Death of You and Me” and “Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks” brings in a New Orleans-like atmosphere to complete the album’s diverse sound.
The first glimpse at his solo career, High Flying Birds has already hit number one in the U.K., doubling the initial sales of Beady Eye. Gallagher has also recorded songs for an allegedly more psychedelic project that is tentatively slated to hit next autumn. High Flying Birds is also available in a deluxe CD/DVD package and vinyl.
OTHER COOL STUFF THAT HITS THIS WEEK: Billy Joel’s Legacy Edition of Piano Man (complete with a session originally cut with Philadelphia’s WMMR).