Release Date: October 18th, 2011
By Evelyn Miska Krieger
The demise of Oasis wasn’t surprising, in fact, it just seemed like a matter of time based on the increasing number of violent outbursts and tension between the Gallagher brothers. So, for many Oasis fans, the fact that both Liam and Noel headed in different directions and both started solo careers probably piqued some curiosity. Noel Gallagher described the decision as an opportunity to branch out from the sound and style of Oasis and while he may not have been 100 percent successful in that, there’s still a great deal to like on the album.
There’s a very good reason why “If I Had A Gun” is one of the album’s first singles. Sure, the beginning actually sounds a fair bit like “Wonderwall” but between Gallagher’s distinctive vocals and the gentle yet growing melody with a good dose of rock, it’s tough not to like the song. Like many of the songs it has a cautiously optimistic melancholy to it and the careful change of keys helps emphasize those shifts of mood. “The Death of You and Me” also harkens back to Oasis days, though the grim jauntiness is more akin to “The Importance of Being Idle” than anything on (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? but the heavier dose of Dixieland style adds a bit something different. Yes, these two have strong similarities to past tracks, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t any good.
At first, “Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks” has a little of that same Dixieland feel coming through like on “The Death of You and Me” but ends up feeling more reminiscent of “Eleanor Rigby” in a few spots (not that that’s a bad song to reference). Unlike most other Oasis songs, this pulls in some trumpets which gives a different sense of things. “(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach” has an excellent rollicking tempo to it and a certain swagger that isn’t present on too many of the tracks. However, if Gallagher wanted to move away from his Oasis days, it might have been better to skip the soundtrack of waves washing on the shore at the end which, instead of feeling fresh, just seems like he’s going to segue into a bit of “Champagne Supernova.” “Stop The Clocks” is a relatively macabre song and sounds a little too much like Robbie Williams and not enough like the Noel Gallagher we’ve come to expect. Yes, it has pretty elements, but a little too much echo on some of the vocals and lacks a little of the edge that makes some of the other songs so good.
If Noel Gallagher wanted an opportunity to show off what he can do differently now that Oasis is over, he finds occasional success on Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Band. There are definite moments where that departure is clear and successful. However, the album falls a little more to the other end of the spectrum with most of the songs having the same sound, style and rhythm from those Oasis days. Yet, although the album doesn’t show as much true distance from days of yore, there are still many tracks that will grab listeners and even if they do cause wistful reminiscing of the late 1990s, that isn’t entirely bad in and of itself.