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Friday, November 25, 2011

Noel Gallagher: High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher Returns

There is no need for an introduction for this musician. He has done it all. Sold millions of records, hit number one in the charts repeatedly, dozens of professional interviews and an awards cabinet many would dream of. Noel Gallagher was the back-bone to the Oasis success, the band that has sold over 50 million albums from 1994-2009 and known as one of the most influential bands of the past 20 years.

High Flying Birds was announced in August 2011 as Noel’s solo project after high anticipation since the 2009 breakup of Oasis. The album released in mid-October contains 10 completely original tracks written and recorded by Noel alone with a handful of new musicians in the process. After the video of “The Death of You And Me” reaching 1 million hits within hours of release on Youtube, the suspense and anticipation rose considerably for the release. Noel has nothing else to prove to the music world, and any doubters to his ability to craft masterpieces of music have been proven wrong again. High Flying Birds is his strongest release since the early Definitely Maybe/Morning Glory era.

Opening with the epic-sounding string set of Everybody’s On The Run, Noel leaves everybody in awe with its anthem sound and choir working to create an atmosphere of pure dreamland and astonishment. Dream On then follows with a “Roll With It” twist with a pumping verse breaking into the night sky for the chorus. If I Had a Gun returns long remaining Oasis fans to the days of Wonderwall. Starting with a quiet acoustic melody before guitars pump in for the chorus with the drums cracking the fills between lines. The song soars higher and higher before breaking cleanly through the ice into an acoustic finish; fantastic tune!

The Death of You And Me reaches the album to newer heights that seemed unreachable. Containing a horn and brass solo over the usual guitars, and bringing out a chorus that is uplifting. This is the furthest Noel reaches out on the album, and a personal favourite. Record Machine is one of the two former Oasis demos that appeared on the internet, highly anticipated and Noel does not let it rest. An acoustic guitar with delayed Noel Gallagher lyric wafts over the top of a soothing choir before breaking out into an anthem. A guitar solo picks up the tempo and guides the vocals to stardom in a state of melancholy that only a songwriter of this calibre could reach with such ease. This tune is one not to be missed.

AKA…What A Life is the real revelation of Noel’s latest accomplishments. An unlikely song due to his back ground with a purposeful bass drums dominating the sound, with Noel’s insanely catchy vocals over pianos, guitars and synthesizers. A new step out for Noel, and a song that could easily have follows the Standing On the Shoulders Of Giant’s era with Go Let It Out a landmark. Then album then takes another turn to a new place through Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks. Lyrics about religious dwellings of war and inequality dominate a fast paced trumpet section over guitars. AKA…Broken Arrow continues the trend with a new flavour of bongo drums and more guitars. Catchy chord progressions lead to another anthem like chorus with drums filling in the blanks well.

(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach sends the record back down to Earth after its rising altitude of hysteria and aptitude for cleanliness. Similar sounds that were heard off Dig Out Your Soul return, and brings a raw based rock-song that makes you question where will the record turn to next. Chorus again brings a sense of hope, with Noel’s vocals over a raw guitar riff that dominates the track from start to end. Peace then arrives at a place of a well-known Oasis demo. Stop The Clocks was first heard in Liverpool back in 2002, and the want and popularity of the tune led to its final release at the end of an album of dreams. The song is Oasis-esque at the very best, with a killer guitar solo at the end that puts it to rest.

Perhaps the lack of guitar solos came as a surprise to many fans of Oasis and Noel’s previous work, but in return he brings back catchy songs that could inspire yet another generation. This album has Noel Gallagher written all over it. He has returned, but in retrospect…he had never really left.

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