Is this the sound of Noel Gallagher finally emerging from beneath those Oasis-shaped clouds?
Whenever Noel Gallagher releases a High Flying Birds album, he must sit back and wait for the inevitable tide of muttering about that band, and how his new music sounds just like them. The first stab at a solo career, a self-titled debut, did nothing to quell the voices. However, with the release of ‘Chasing Yesterday’ there is a sense of him finding freedom through experimentation with the kinds of sounds Oasis wouldn’t have touched with a barge pole.
That’s not to say that the new album is going to be flawless, mind you. There are plenty of times that it seems to fall slightly short of expectations. At times it seems oddly hesitant, as though Noel doesn’t quite know what to do with his new freedom, and what emerges are songs such as ‘The Dying of the Light’ that Gallagher can churn out with mechanical ease and sound like everything else he’s ever written. Not that it’s bad exactly, after all, it’s still a Noel Gallagher song. Still, the gentle guitar and simple, lyrically poetic lyrics (‘It’s alright/If you dance with me tonight/We’ll fight the dying of the light and we’ll catch the sun’) are nothing we haven’t encountered before. Pre-album single ‘In the Heat of the Moment’, released last year is likewise not going to gain any points for originality, and yet you have to ask if that’s really what you’re looking for.
If it is, then ‘Riverman’ with it’s rumoured saxophone solo, signals a pleasant departure from the Oasis-esque. Single ‘The Ballad of the Mighty I’, is not quite so unique but still seems to offer something to contemplate. Although it features legendary Johnny Marr, it is the lyrics that grab the limelight. ‘I followed the stars and sailed the sea / With heaven in my fingertips,’ Gallagher sings. In doing so he offers up one of the best moments we’ve seen so far in the album.
So what should we expect from ‘Chasing Yesterday’? If the previews we’ve been given are any indication it’s certainly an album you’re going to want to buy. Gallagher is probably never going to escape from the shadow of Oasis, but he’s certainly managed to break free from the old Britpop ball and chain. And it seems he’s enjoying that new-found freedom.
You can get ‘Chasing Yesterday’ when it’s released on 02/03/2015!
By Kelly Beestone