- Last Updated: 12:20 PM, November 8, 2011
- Posted: 10:54 PM, November 7, 2011
Album of the week
NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS
“Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds”
Since ditching his bandmate and brother, Liam -- after a widely reported backstage fight in ’09 that proved to be the death blow to the loved Brit band Oasis -- Noel Gallagher has transformed his fraternal anger into a collection of songs that recaptures the classic Oasis sound.
Considering Noel was Oasis’ main songwriter and penned its big hits, it isn’t surprising to hear that particular Brit-pop style in the 10 songs of “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.” Comfortable, melodic references to The Beatles and Kinks can be heard, as well as shimmery acid-drenched arrangements. Although he’s not as good a vocalist as his brother, he has a hearty confidence in his emotive delivery.
The stylistic range is also wide. An arena-ready power ballad, “Everybody’s on the Run,” praises perseverance in the face of failed love. Gallagher lends a loopy waltz tempo to the acoustic Americana of “The Death of You and Me,” whose lyrics delve into saying goodbye to a loved one (like a brother). One of the best tracks is the explosive fast funk of “AKA . . . What a Life,” where Gallagher wails joyfully about living in the moment.
Another notable track is “If I Had a Gun . . .” which has a strong “Wonderwall” vibe, although the tempo is slightly slower. This tune will definitely appeal to longtime fans because of that nod to the Oasis classic, along with clever writing that gives a glimpse of the sinister edge which sometimes slips into his lyrics. On this one, Gallagher actually sounds sweet as he sings the veiled death threat, “If I had the time, I’d stop the world and make you mine/And every day would stay the same for you.”
It would have been nice if Gallagher’s High Flying Birds stretched their wings with new instrumentation and arrangements outside the Oasis paint box, but hearing musical rejuvenation is almost as good as reinvention.
Download of the week
A BAND OF BEES
“Go Where You Wanna Go”
3 1/2 STARS
On a seductive 16-track record that showcases the UK’s Band of Bees’ terrific sense of melody and ability to create power with vocal harmony is “Go Where You Wanna Go.” Rather than being a simple cover of the Mamas and the Papas’ debut 1966 single, this version is an homage to one of the Bees’ biggest pop influences. With layered vocals -- precise yet warm -- the septet praises free love and free will over an arrangement jangly with guitars and sweet, syrupy strings. We still miss Mama Cass Elliot’s big soaring voice, but a little less now.