Noel Gallagher collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous abandoned
Noel Gallagher collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous abandoned

There used to be a bit of pub game in the early seventies of trying to imagine what the Beatles album after ‘Let It Be’ would have sounded like. Tony Barker wonders if the Gallagher’s post Oasis solo efforts can be spliced together in the same way to create the lost 8th Oasis album.

it's all behind him now...but what if the 2 solo Gallagher albums were the new Oasis album
it's all behind him now...but what if the 2 solo Gallagher albums were the new Oasis album

It’s a Friday night in October 2011 and I’m sitting watching Creation at the BBC – skimming the surface of the label’s output through from The Loft and The Weather Prophets to Primal Scream’s Xtrmntr. We all remember the young Tony McCarroll-curly-barneted Oasis, but what seems to have fallen through the cracks of time – and what’s unearthed here, is a weighty gem – Top Of The Pops footage of D’You Know What I Mean? Oasis look in charge. They look like they own the planet. In fact they pretty much do own the planet.

My mind is cast back to the last time I saw Oasis – it’s 2008 and I’m at Wembley Arena watching them plod through Supersonic and Wonderwall for the 10,000th time. There are undoubted high points – not least the infectious finale I Am The Walrus aganist a backdrop of marching visuals that rattle through my brain for several days to come.

I hate to say it, but despite the odd sit up and take notice moment Oasis looked past their sell by date. Will an incident involving a plum seal their fate or can Noel bite his tongue for the last few dates of the tour so everyone can go off for a break and regroup to record Oasis’ eighth studio album?

Well thankfully not. Liam on the Beady Eye record sounds more vibrant than he’s sounded since Definitely Maybe while Noel has got his muse back. His solo interviews are less Victor Meldrew and more cheeky Beatle-esque press conference circa A Hard Day’s Night.

There’s something missing from both camps though. Noel’s finesse and quality control is missing from the Beady Eye record and The High Flying Birds could do with an injection of Liam’s sheer carnal Rock ”Ëœn’ Roll urgency and the occasional growl of guitars cranked through a Marshall.

The solution? Splice the two records on a computer and let me present Oasis’ eighth studio album: ”ËœBeady Eye Flying Birds’.

”ËœBeady Eye Flying Birds’.
album review, sort of

It’s so easy to define an Oasis album by its reference points. What’s unusual this time is that the sonic radar has been cast a little wider so that those reference points include everything from Jerry Lee Lewis and the Grease soundtrack to Screamadelica and even a Ryan Adams cover of one of their own songs alongside the usual suspects.

Noel kicks us off in full Technicolor widescreen. Everybody’s On The Run is a tune so big it’s damn near touching the clouds and when the Crouch End Festival Chorus kicks in it threatens to pierce through them in a heart-exploding moment.

Liam brings us back down to Earth with some rare hipshaking rock ”Ëœn’ roll. Beatles And Stones is a Saturday night at 3am in a sweaty basement club and its the most vital Liam has sounded in 17 years. As it builds and then builds some more Liam forgets momentarily that he’s supposed to be a family man out jogging on Hampstead Heath before he remembers again on The Roller, which ticks over nicely as a tune for daytime radio but is as unremarkable a tune as this lot are capable of.

The ante is upped with a run that even the Roses themselves will do well to better. Cockney knees up Noel serves up a slab of Kinksian paranoia on Dream On. Next Andy Bell manages his most accomplished offering since Ride. Millionaire happens to be about a road trip in Spain, Salvador Dali’s house and being in a bar surrounded by pictures of the Stones – but despite that it’s a phenomenal slab of summery pop that you sense Lennon would be jealous of. He’d probably enjoy Bring The Light too – Jerry Lee Lewis piano hammers along as Gallagher Jnr pouts ”ËœBaby Come On’. A gap of almost 60 years is seamlessly plugged as Noel conjures another slice of dance psychedelia he pulled off so well on Falling Down. AKA… What A Life! has a hook you could hang your Harrington on and lyrically it’s nails so hard no doubt we’ll all be walking round with Tshirts on that say “I’m gonna take that Tiger outside for a ride.”

Three Ring Circus is snarling Stonesy fun but then it’s time to really start worrying about Gallagher Snr as his introspective paranoia surfaces again on If I Had A Gun. A very close relative of Ryan Adams’ take on Wonderwall, which Noel has adopted himself for his live set, it’s every bit as haunting.

If there is a high point on the album then it’s probably The Death Of You And Me. It’s another dark offering and you do start to fear for Noel’s sanity. The accompanying video sees Noel push a beautiful woman into a swimming pool. The message is not clear but The Death Of You And Me threatens to overtake The Importance Of Being Idle as Noel’s best of the 21st century.

Beady Eye Flying Birds plays itself out with an ethereal close. On first listen Kill For A Dream feels a bit simplistic, but on repeated listen it somehow defies its components. The terrible lyrics, (”Ëœdeep blue sky’) the Hey Jude coda and the Abbey Road-by-numbers guitar solo can’t do enough to capsize it. That Crouch End choir returns as the finale gathers pace on (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine before something quite unexpected. Wigwam, all Thunderclap Newman atmospherics behind Mod sha-la-las suddenly grinds to a halt. Chris Sharrock’s drums stutter it back into life before Liam finds himself in unchartered territory: falsetto. Liam conjures up his best (and to date only) Bobby Gillespie impression to chant ”ËœI’m Coming Up’ in a blissful nod to Screamadelica.

So what’ve we learned? Liam’s got his balls back and then finds himself castrated. We should fear for Noel’s state of mind. This is the most complete and coherent Oasis album since What’s The Story.

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