Classic Rock Review

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Beady Eye: Different Gear, Still Speeding (2011)

beady_eye_album_sleeveFrom The Telegraph

After Noel Gallagher finally quit Oasis in August 2009, who’d have guessed that the rest of the band would side with his younger brother? Liam, after all, was the liability, the loose cannon, whose chief contribution was an edginess which constantly destabilised the ship. Noel, the songwriter, who made the whole world sing (in the early days, at least), surely would have been the more reliable meal ticket.

From day one, however, Noel ran Oasis on a “captain and crew” basis, keeping his charges on a tight, Beatles-embossed leash. At crunch time, the hirelings whom Noel himself had gradually cherry-picked from British indie-rock’s upper echelons to replace the original line‑up, doubtless shared the unreliable Gallagher’s thirst for liberty and stuck by him instead.

So it was that Beady Eye formed, and ever since this debut has been awaited with a rare mixture of car-crash voyeurism and cautious optimism. Wouldn’t Liam make a twit of himself, without big brother’s guidance? But then, wasn’t it really him, the beautiful nutcase, who always set Oasis’s vital energy a‑crackling?

The good news is that, from its amusingly headlong title down, Different Gear, Still Speeding feels a good deal less lumpy than the last few Oasis albums. The teaser track, Bring the Light, is everything one might have hoped for from Beady Eye – a piano-pounding rush of vintage rock & roll, which sets the listener’s fevered brain fizzing with thoughts of Little Richard and the Velvet Underground, rather than the same old Beatles references.

In interviews, Liam, Gem Archer (guitarist; ex-Heavy Stereo), Andy Bell (guitarist/bassist; ex-Ride) and Chris Sharrock (drummer, ex-La’s) have talked excitedly about the joys of collaborative writing, and there is an all-pervasive vibe of freshness, upbeat melody and commitment. Gallagher, throughout, sings like a man possessed.

Aside from another full-blooded, filth-and-fury rocker, Standing on the Edge of the Noise, the highlights are Millionaire and For Anyone, each recalling the breezy, skiffly Merseybeat of Sharrock’s erstwhile accomplices, the La’s. These stand out, for the simple reason that there was seldom room for prettiness within the Oasis brand.

Elsewhere, though, it is, disappointingly, business as usual – particularly on Four Letter Word, the trundling opener, which was presumably put there so as not to frighten the horses and Oasis’s staunch fan base.

It doesn’t take long for Beatles nods to pile up: The Roller so resembles John Lennon’s Instant Karma, one can almost picture Liam with long hair and little round specs singing it. There’s even a song called Beatles and Stones, although, with merciful perversity, it rips off the Who’s My Generation.

Fans will trawl the lyrics for veiled messages to Noel – “Life’s too short not to forgive/ I’m here if you wanna call”, from Kill For a Dream, should set the message boards chattering – but there is enough here to suggest that Beady Eye might take on a life of its own, especially with live gigs lined-up this month.

For now, though, the nagging feeling is that Different Gear isn’t quite different enough.

April 1, 2013 - Posted by | Beady Eye Different Gear Still Speeding | ,

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