"Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds" by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Mercury
2011

Review

I had the privlidege of seeing Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Royce Hall at UCLA. Now, Royce Hall - aside from being the logo of my alma-mater UCLA - is a smalish venue. I remember seeing Oasis play at the Hollywood Bowl at a sold-out show. So to see Noel on a smaller stage was amazing. You don't often get the opportunity to see a huge name in Rock go back to where they started. And yet, there he was. On that small stage playing both new stuff as well as really incredible arrangements of older Oasis-era hits. It's a hard thing to do to step out of the shadows of the band that you are known for. But I think that as Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Noel Gallagher has done that. All in all, I think Noel does a better job leaving Oasis than Liam's Beady Eye did.

You have to be the type of person who was more into the Noel sung Oasis tracks than the Liam ones to really appreciate this album. Towards the end of their run, Oasis started to sound sort of the same. Their music wasn't bad, it was just more of what they had already done (see: Red Hot Chili Peppers). So the change has done them both well. But Noel's solo debut is much stronger than Liam's.

"If I Had A Gun" is a new classic for people who love "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova". But for me the true surprises are songs like "Stop The Clocks" and "A Simple Game Of Genius". Look, obviously we know what band influenced Oasis and as their songwriter, Noel is probably mostly to blame for what some see as simply copying the style of the Beatles. But Noel has gotten so very good as a songwriter and here he stops sounding like Oasis and really starts to branch out on his own. Oasis would NEVER have put out songs like "Everybody's On The Run" or "AKA...What A Life". As a smaller, lesser-known artist, Noel can take these sort of risks now.

This represents the work of Noel Gallagher. And he has managed something that his brother could not - namely make a record that sounds like something different from the band that he's known for. If I have to pick between the two brothers, I pick Noel.

4.333 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Everybody's on the Run (05:31) 5
2. Dream On (04:29) 4
3. If I Had a Gun... (04:09) 5
4. The Death of You and Me (03:29) 4
5. (I Wanna live in a Dream in My) Record Machine (04:23) 3
6. AKA... What a Life! (04:25) 4
7. Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks (03:22) 5
8. AKA... Broken Arrow (03:35) 5
9. (Stranded on) The Wrong Beach (04:03) 4
10. Stop the Clocks (05:07) 5
11. A Simple Game of Genius (07:19) 5
12. The Good Rebel (04:24) 3