Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds: Chasing Yesterday – album review
Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday
CD / DL / LP
The master trick of any songwriter is to grow with their audience.
Only a foolish Noel would chase the cutting edge.
That’s for the Captain Beefhearts or the Aphex twins or Swans – genius lunatics who live on the tightrope and send back sonic missives. Noel is here for a different purpose. He knows where the tightrope is. He knows what it sounds like. He always was a music fanatic who listened to everything but he knows what he is here for and he knows what he is good at and that’s tapping into the heartbeat of his generation. His people. Soundtracking their lives, their dreams and their fears and Chasing Yesterday is a perfect example of this. And that’s its own skill.
Aaaagh must resist! must resist!…got to be a serious music writer and digging this beat is bad for the CV!
Noel Gallagher doesn’t make music for critics. He makes it for himself and his fans.
It’s a simple concept.
This is trad rock but there is something so warm and so believing’ to it that it’s impossible to not like it as it envelops you like a warm blanket of decades of great moments, tricks and licks revamped for the now.
It’s all about perceptions and Noel is the master of perception.
He certainly knows his lawn and is camped out on it. His world view is, of course, hilarious and he is always in danger of being far better at holding court on rock n roll than delivering the same kind of fire. But then it back to these damn perceptions.
This is an adult album that, as ever, sounds like Noel flicking through his favourite records- shouting ‘check this out!’ across the room to a bunch of mates- the music trip- the all night listening session – except, like the mischievous magpie that he is, he has borrowed all the favourite moments and moulded them into his own rock n roll- but then that didn’t do the Beatles (or Blur for that matter) any harm did it?
Chasing Yesterday is a grown up work- Noel is on the way to 50 and is soundtracking his generation as they negotiate life’s middle age- gone are the all night days, the raves, the mad gigs- the chemical lunacy of youth on the trial laid out by the Stone Roses and the other prophets of the beat. Those were the days when the working class guitars could change the world then Oasis came along and were wam bam avalanche guitar and surly attitude, rubbing the elites faces in it. It can’t last for ever. Or even live forever.
This is the next bit- the heartbreak and joy, divorce and careers, the real world and its mad shadows and this is the soundtrack on an album that will be played to and from work from the generation Y of yearning plaintive tunes that will even manage to get played on the radio with their knack for melody and deceptive sheen.
This is an album of comfy slipper songs, songs that deceptively sound cosy but have some kind of meaning, anthems of lost youth, madcap days in India House (that would make a great title for a song Noel) and the streets of late eighties Manchester, when we was young, when bands meant everything and the world was more simple. These are songs of grown up love and all the other stuff.
Revolution Song is the kind of anthem he wrote in Oasis and drips with his own past- like he is ripping himself off and another of the revisits of that All the Young Dudes, arms in the air moments and is armed with the descending chord sequence thing that his the master of. Freaky Teeth is kinda like one of those great mid period Slade stomp ballads, Riverman cops the ‘something in the way she moves line from George Fab and creates a beautful shimmer of a song from it, The Right Stuff is tripped out free jazz- like Herb Albert smoking something with the Stone Roses at their most loose.
Noel has never lost the knack for the big anthem and there’s loads of them on here. Not that there is nothing wrong with being able to pen generational anthems- Noel cops a lot of flack for this but then so did the Beatles- it’s always interesting reading reviews of Beatles albums WRITTEN AT THE TIME – each one came with a real slagging especially their later works.
Next job for Noel has to be writing and producing a Liam solo album…(and making up with the Sleaford Mods…)
- 06/03 : Nottingham Capital FM Arena
- 07/03 : Glasgow The SSE Hydro,
- 09/03 : Manchester Arena
- 10/03 : London The O2 Arena