Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday
9/10Published by JB on March 5, 2015 Release date: March 3, 2015
Amazing sophomore solo effort dismisses any last desire for that prior band
Half-way through the beautiful Chasing Yesterday album opener ‘Riverman’ the concept of an Oasis reformation turns more appropriately into “why didn’t Noel Gallagher go solo in 2003?”. In 2003, Oasis was 10-11 years into a downward spiralling career. It would have been prime time to call it quits before it got ugly.
Instead what ensued was another six years of mediocrity, more brotherly hatred, and a mere tiny handful of songs that qualified into the mix of their best early work. Great Oasis albums were long gone. Our hopes were standing on the shoulders of just a couple good songs per album. Our expectations plummeted as Oasis became a punchline. A band that talked bigger than their music, but couldn’t back it up. They talked the talk, but forgot how to walk the walk, musically. Only the diehards can name the Gallagher brothers final four album titles. They just didn’t matter. For a brief time in the early-mid ’90’s they were the biggest, baddest band on the globe. By 1997 they were nearly an epilogue.
Noel Gallagher’s Flying Birds changes all of that with a killer sophomore effort. Gallagher’s self-titled debut was everything we hoped it would be. Chasing Yesterday is more than that. If the creative pulse of Oasis was ever questioned, it’s now etched in stone where even Liam Gallagher needs to step back and salute. Oasis at its best was Noel Gallagher alone. His songwriting. His voice, not Liam’s. And now Noel is our latter day 47-year old singer-songwriter punching out albums that match the authenticity and tunefulness of Beck. He’s become elite (again).
The brilliant nursery-rhyme like melodies make for a perfect mixture of pop and rock. Bringing more instruments into the mix isn’t as much of an eye-opener as it is our head nod to an artist that is still getting better. At 47 he sounds like he’s 27. When he was 27 he sounded bored, and stoned – and didn’t know when to quit. After (What’s the Story) Morning Glory changed everything, Oasis become bloated, self-destructive and excessive. Their brazen reputation often over-shadowed even the two or three classic tracks each album delivered after 1997. For a band that couldn’t be defeated, they became the band that couldn’t win. Chasing Yesterday puts our Oasis universe back on the Beatles-esque songwriting path we hoped Noel would would one day find into his late 40’s. The type of path we could never have from John Lennon.