Noel Gallagher, one of the last great characters of rock, returns with a brand new EP. It’s all about the retro vibes again, but the chests the famous Mancunian chooses to plunder this time, belong more to the electro-pop of the ’90s than to the mind-expanding dance music of the same period. Is this record worth your time?
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds take it to the dancefloor again
Once there was a way to get back homewards… But, then Noel, the Gallagher brother previously in charge of the collective fate of Oasis, burned down those bridges, took a trip down an acid devouring memory lane and recorded the, frankly, great Who built the moon?
Propped up by a similar framework, his most recent outing, the 3 song EP Blue Moon Rising, is a less inspired affair, drawing on nostalgia’s less charming aspects, like sentimentality and fake-hidden meaning. I
Oasis may have been accused of pillaging the 1960s songbook, but few had as good taste as the older Gallagher brother like a pickpocket specialized in robbing only London’s elite.
But, here, Noel Gallagher’s retro goes all the way back to the mid-1990s, several years after heroes of his, like Primal Scream or the Stone Roses, had released their dancefloor meets rock masterpieces.
Quite honestly, it sounds like an aborted pop project one of the Spice Girls, looking to revive their moribund pop-chart careers. Blue Moon Rising shimmies against a decrepit 90s beat. It’s something a lot of younger indie bands are doing these days, but, you wouldn’t expect many of them to know any better.
Wandering Star sounds like a song Gallagher may have penned for S Club 7 in a bid to raise his financial capital. Don’t hold your breath to hear this on an Oasis reunion, nor for an Oasis tour for that matter. He and brother Liam, who is far more invested in britpop traditionalism on his own records, have never seemed farther apart then they do here.
Only Come on outside with its rocking guitar and familiar sense of hopefulness, is close to the standard for the singer who now travels accompanied by a backing band branding the similarly period style name of the High Flying Byrds. It’s all things considered, the one song following Who built the moon, that could make a Noel Gallagher setlist that also includes 1990s chart-toppers.
The two remixes that follow are best left unmentioned, although, somewhat cynically, this writer feels the songs have a chance of reaching some degree of success on the busy, largely faceless, EDM market.
The whole construct of an EP over the traditional album format Gallagher has favored since the early days of his career, also seems peculiar. Perhaps a new album is meant to symbolize a grander statement. The short length EP, something more akin to an extended single, allows the former Oasis leader to depart this 2020 unscathed, regardless of its outcome.
Noel Gallagher is responsible for creating some inspired electro-rock and some of his best work has only been out for a few years. But, we, as much of the world, know a good Gallagher penned song when we hear one? On this record there’s barely one resembling a second rate one.