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Liam Gallagher

+ {Beady Eye}

When songwriting brother Noel decided to leave OASIS in August 2009, singer Liam Gallagher and the remaining members (Andy Bell, Gem Archer and Chris Sharrock) vowed to plough on regardless. Obviously, keeping acrimony down to a minimum by not taking the OASIS moniker, the name BEADY EYE was chosen to represent a new beginning. And in a way, this was some sort of London-based indie supergroup, guitarists Archer and Bell hailing from Creation bands HEAVY STEREO and RIDE respectively (the latter also HURRICANE #1), while journeyman drummer Sharrock had played for The ICICLE WORKS, The LA’S, The WILD SWANS, WORLD PARTY and The LIGHTNING SEEDS; bassist Jeff Wootton and keyboard player Jay Darlington were added on tour.
After a year putting the final touches and played the odd promotional tour, BEADY EYE finally unleashed their Steve Lillywhite-produced set DIFFERENT GEAR, STILL SPEEDING (2011) {*7}. If one thought OASIS took The BEATLES clonal attributes a tad too close to the bone, then Top 3 act BEADY EYE were the virtual embodiment of the early Fab Four. Anyone who listened to `Millionaire’, `The Roller’, `Wind Up Dream’, `For Anyone’… and even the part-name-check track `Beatles And Stones’, was clearly in a world of their own if they didn’t hear The BEATLES in every anthemic chant and strum. But for that, the formula seemed to work.
The band’s sophomore delivery, BE (2013) {*8}, was kept off the UK top spot by ‘Sabbath’s “13”. Ironic, if Brit-rock had thought itself rid of “the dinosaurs”. Produced by TV ON THE RADIO geezer, Dave Sitek, the album had one foot in “Revolver”-esque psychedelic age and the other in classicist Britpop. No surprise there then. Almost segued into each other by swirling winds, opening salvos `Flick Of The Finger’ and `Soul Love’, didn’t have to conjure up much of an imagination to find that Liam (born William John Paul Gallagher, 21 September 1972, Burnage, Manchester) was enjoying his usual shoulder-shrugging swagger. Ah, the 60s, a time when people had flowers in their hair. That decade’s grandson of-sorts, Liam, was now swapping the blooms and simply spreading the pollen in every direction. The 7-minute `Don’t Bother Me’ was truly a modern-day classic, Liam spraying lyrical cliches and effectively turning metaphoric nettles and weeds into red roses. One imagined that brother Noel might be a tad envious of his former bandmate and, in other sing-a-longs such as `I’m Just Saying’, `Shine A Light’, `Face The Crowd’ and `Off At The Next Exit’, “Be” might well’ve seen BEADY EYE come of age. Not a hope, as the main protagonist split the group in October 2014.
LIAM GALLAGHER, the solo star, was underway three years on when the former OASIS belter dropped his debut album, the chart-topping AS YOU WERE (2017) {*7}. Augmented by “pop” producer Greg Kurstin (plus Dan Grech-Marguerat and Andrew Wyatt) and a plethora of studio musicians, there was more than a passing resemblance to all his usual suspect heroes. As a singular songwriter (note that `Paper Crown’ and `Chinatown’ were Wyatt and Michael Tighe compositions), lyricist Liam had allowed himself to slide along the sonic corridor of power into traditional pop/rock fare; `Wall Of Glass’ and `For What It’s Worth’ marked the “veteran’s” return to the singles charts. At 45, was Liam the elder statesman? – He was until his 50 year-old brother turned in another High Flying Birds entry.
LIAM GALLAGHER reunited with previous producers (plus others) for his chart-topping sophomore set, WHY ME? WHY NOT. (2019) {*7}. The record was effectively OASIS meets The BEATLES, with a few twists and turns in between. The title track, for instance, was one of the best on board, however its lineage to an amalgamation of the “Sgt. Pepper” album was almost uncanny. The opener `Shockwave’ (a shock Top 30 breaker) was OASIS reincarnate; as was `One Of Us’, `Be Still’ et al. When our Liam did try to steer clear of usual suspect correlation, the simplicity of constructed pop/rock came through reflective pieces, `Alright Now’ and finale `Gone’. In essence, his base enjoyed their over-confident idol no matter the quality; others of a more discerning palette put it down to playing safe.
Demand was such for LIAM GALLAGHER output that Warner Bros. had no need to officially announce the singer’s next offering: a self-explanatory 8-song EP/mini-set, ACOUSTIC SESSIONS (2020) {*6}. Borrowing three songs from his OASIS days (`Cast No Shadow’, `Stand By Me’ and the originally Noel sung `Sad Song’) it was probably another excuse for the brothers grim to have a fight… though these days it was through (anti-)social media.
And somehow acceptable to absorb similar takes of the same cuts; alongside `Some Might Say’ and encore `Champagne Supernova’ (interspersed between solo bests from `Wall Of Glass’ to `Gone’), the “Live at Hull City Hall” experience was played out with the Urban Soul Orchestra (and guest Bonehead) on chart-topping album, MTV UNPLUGGED (2020) {*7}. The recording was certainly issued in response to his coronavirus-cancelled tour. It was also possibly a back-handed way of sticking it to the man for his “sore throat” episode that put paid to a high-end “unplugged” concert back in ’96 that saw brother Noel and OASIS shine on without him at London’s Royal Festival Hall; a boozed-up Liam allegedly heckled from the balcony. That was then and this is now, an accomplished veteran who packed an altogether different punch.
© MC Strong/MCS Feb2011-Jun2020

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