There’s a certain snobbery that surrounds Oasis and everything post ‘What’s The Story? (Morning Glory)’ to do with the Gallagher brothers. Sure, the Gallaghers may be outspoken dicks and Beady Eye were terrible, but there’s a certain amount of people who don’t appreciate Noel Gallagher’s song-writing for what it is. In order to understand Noel Gallagher’s song-writing you have to understand that to Noel, a song is just a song, it’s not art. Which is why Oasis and Noel’s songs have always been so enjoyable in their simplicity, he just writes what he wants to hear and he does them well.
It just so happens that a large amount of what he writes isn’t original in the slightest. He borrows from all of his heroes, from Bowie on ‘The Girl With The X-Ray Eyes’ which has a certain spaciness to it that you’d hear on Ziggy Stardust. He pays homage to The Beatles as he always done but more obviously here like on the opening track ‘Riverman’ which opens with the lyrics ‘Something in the way she moves me to destruction’ which is an obvious throwback to Harrison’s classic ‘Something’. But more-so than ever, he sounds like he’s actually paying homage to his favourite person, himself. The opening chords on the album sounds similar to that of ‘Wonderwall’ and the chord progression on the song ‘Lock the Doors’ sounds exactly like the title track from Oasis’ classic second album. And the song ‘You Know We Can’t Go Back’ sounds like it could have come out of any Oasis record really. He apparently regrets naming the album ‘Chasing Yesterday’ but it seems such an apt title.
Although it sounds highly unoriginal, I will say this for Gallagher, It doesn’t sound like he’s been lazy. He takes the ropes of his own production on here doesn’t do a bad job. It sounds a bit rougher round the edges compared to his debut, even when the instrumentation itself isn’t. The instrumentation on songs like ‘The Right Stuff’ sound eerie without having to rely on effects but from the use of horns and haunting guitar tones. It’s one of the moments where Gallagher’s smooth voice sounds so delightful especially when harmonised with a female vocalist. Noel’s voice has always been great when lent to anthemic tracks and that’s the same on here. Tracks like ‘Riverman’, ‘The Heat Of The Moment’ and ‘Ballad Of The Mighty I’ are moments where even when lyrics seem to have Gallagher on autopilot, they’ll be moving simply from the way that they’re delivered – much like a lot of Oasis’ material. Obviously this is hardly surprising when in a recent interview he said ‘who cares about the words?’
There are moments like on ‘Lock the doors’ where he unfortunately lacks the bite that something Oasis might have done; Noel’s smooth voice doesn’t quite fit over the top of the more rock heavy tracks where Liam would completely shined. If only the bite you hear from his interviews where he entertainingly barks at everyone was more transferable into his own music. On this record he is very smooth but it sometimes feels out of character from his persona. It does make you miss Liam a bit.
If you’re a fan of Noel Gallagher’s previous material there’s no way you’re going to be disappointed in ‘Chasing Yesterday’. If for some random reason you’re a expecting a magical burst of innovation and originality from Gallagher at 47 years old then not only are your expectations too high but you’re going to be disappointed. Noel Gallagher doesn’t write art, he makes some tunes and that’s what this album is filled with – some tunes.
Best Tracks: Riverman, The Heat Of The Moment, The Right Stuff, Ballad Of The Mighty I