After much anticipation and to great delight, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds studio LP was released in Ireland on Friday the 14th of October 2011. With this debut solo effort from the man who basically brought Oasis into our lives, fans did not know what to expect from the lyricist who penned such hits as ‘Live Forever’, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and ‘Wonderwall’. The release of the first solo single entitled ‘ The Death Of You And Me’ received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike, and with very little airplay on our Irish airwaves, Noel Gallagher may have landed himself with a harder task than expected, trying to gain the attention and respect he quite well deserves from music fans on the Emerald Isle.
However, let’s start off by saying that this record is by no means Oasis, this is pure Noel Gallagher at his finest. Take out the snarling vocal of his younger sibling and the distorted electric guitars that come as standard with most Oasis tracks, and you are left with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. From the moment you hit the play button, the lengthy intro of opening track ‘Everybody’s On The Run’ puts a firm statement of intent in place for the listener – this is my record and if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. With a large array of strings, trumpets, and multiple layers of choir backing vocals, Noel Gallagher hits the nail on the head regarding his future musical direction. Don’t be expecting any huge guitar solo’s here, this is a fine collection of tracks that also lean hard against emotional and hopeful lyrics, acoustic guitars and atmospheric sounds.
In my opinion, the chosen singles so far are not the best tracks on the album – but they are the most commercial and appealing signatures that have a better chance of extending out past his loyal fan base. Stand out tracks include ‘Dream On’, ‘If I Had A Gun’, ‘(I Wanna Live In A Dream) In My Record Machine’ and ‘AKA Broken Arrow’, with the weaker links in the chain standing out in the form of ‘Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks’ and ‘(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach’ which reside near the end of the album.
Overall, this album will shock most hardcore Oasis fans but will definitely stand tall over the likes of many previous Oasis offerings including ‘Dig Out Your Soul’, ‘Heathen Chemistry’, ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’ and ‘Be Here Now’, while also pushing Beady Eye’s ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ to the side.
This is an album that may take time to grow on most, but for now we will label it as a success for Gallagher senior - An album that the chief should be proud of, this is definitely a recommended purchase.
Brendan Mc Elroy