Release date: November 24, 2017
Published by JB
…..it’s the most Oasis-thing we’ve heard since Oasis.
“I didn’t come here to make up your mind
I do believe that you were wasting my time
There’s no more tears left to cry myself blind“
from ‘If Love is the Law’ off the album Who Built the Moon? by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (2017)
Since 2011 Noel Gallagher quickly shed any hint of who the brains of then operation were behind the Oasis engine highlights from early and mid-90’s. While his songwriting borrowed heavily from his heroes (Beatles, Stone Roses) his style and delivery became its own signature. The beauty of his two first solo records (under the moniker of The High Flying Birds) displayed a more singer/songwriter approach than any Oasis album ever did. And in doing so, he flourished.
Album #3, very surprisingly, is a return to his Oasis days. While that’s an eye popping change of pace, the songs simply don’t add up to what we would hope for. The anthemic ‘Fort Knox’/’Holy Mountain’ combo are pure Oasis bombast. They simmer, but ultimately under-deliver. Throughout the entire album, you can hear 1997 all over again (‘Keep on Reaching’, ‘She Taught Me How to Fly’, ‘The Man Who Built The Moon’).
The Oasis-style rock tracks overshadow a few real gems such as “If Love is the Law” which is a head-bobbing revival of his best, recent solo efforts. Things simply go downhill when the volume and over-compromising, clustered rock and roll style that Oasis ultimately drove into the ground, rears its head.
What we’re left with is an album, that from any other artist, would be entirely notable. But coming from a man with a catalog that has become its own institution, it’s a bit of a let down.
The greatest thing about Noel Gallagher, quite frankly, is that he’s still alive. Surving the drug excess of his Oasis heyday, it’s a pleasure to see the man so prolific – willing to both look behind and ahead from album to album. He’s ultimately go under-appreciated in the US for his contributions over the past 25+ years but there’s a reason why he’s often in the same breath with the UK elites (McCartney, Morrissey, Albarn, Ian Brown, and more). Our musical planet is much greater place with the elder Gallagher brother giving interviews and writing music.