Noel’s as free as a high-flying bird

Noel Gallagher has struck out on his own

Say what you will about the infamous Gallagher brothers, but itÂ’s clear theyÂ’ve made their mark on rock and roll. The fact that almost everyone has an opinion, one way or the other, reflects their remarkable ability to either get under your skin or put a smile on your face. With the last Oasis release a distant memory, Noel Gallagher has struck out on his own, keeping his unmistakable brand of Brit rock alive and kicking.

While Liam Gallagher may be the charismatic frontman, there’s no denying that Noel is the brains of the pair. It was his songwriting ability that saw Oasis scale those heights throughout the ´90s, and his dedication to their music that saw the band continue through countless break-ups and other (numerous) misadventures. It’s perhaps unsurprising that he has broken out on his own, stringing together a talented array of musicians to support him.

The High Flying Birds first came together in 2010, following the much publicised split of Oasis. With Oasis experiencing what would be the last of their death throws, news broke that Noel was preparing a solo album, drawing upon more than ten years of songwriting. After a strenuous two-year recording process in both the UK and the States, Noel released the self-titled album in October this year, creating with it an international success that has critics clamouring with praise.

ThereÂ’s no denying that the High Flying Birds sound a bit like Oasis, but this is to be expected. There are a range of catchy pop songs with well-crafted lyrics that easily set the foot tapping, and GallagherÂ’s voice has become so well recognised, itÂ’s easy to think youÂ’ve heard some of the tracks before.

Having said that, there are differences and this is where the magic lies. Unrestrained by the demands of the former supergroup, the album sees Noel writing songs with a more free and liberal direction. There is more reference to his influences and an overall cleaner sound that comes from his desire to produce a more coherent record. Gone are the references to drugs and other rock clichés, as he sings about topics of substance, with supporting instrumentation that would never have made it onto an Oasis record.
Tracks like ‘Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks’ and ‘The Death of You and Me’ are highlights. The former contains a wonderful brass component, playing over a Beatlesque melody that unashamedly pays homage to that other British super group. ‘The Death of You and Me’ is a well crafted and sophisticated track, the product of a musician with a clear sense of direction and the know-how to deliver it.

Noel Gallagher has spent the majority of his career facing comparisons to other musicians. His over-publicised relationship with his brother, coupled with the mediaÂ’s obsession with them, have often overshadowed the music he produces. Now, free from the shackles of a band that perhaps grew too big for itself, Noel Gallagher is able to show the world what he still has to offer. ItÂ’s now time for others to compare themselves to him.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds; DR Byen Concert House; Saturday, December 3; 195-415 kr

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