so, some 18 months after a very public and seemingly very final split, what was left of the last line-up of Oasis after Noel Gallagher stormed off have delivered their debut album. we've had a couple of singles (one, Bring The Light, exceptionally average, the other, The Roller, quite promising) and tour dates annouced. as Liam made it clear that there was "no way" any Oasis material would be played by the new band, it was always going to be fascinating to see what he intended to deliver instead of guaranteed crowd pleasers.
let us not forget that Liam promised Beady Eye would be "about one million times better" than Oasis. that's quite a bold statement, but then again he is not exactly known nor celebrated for his modesty. an initial thing to do when having heard the album is to then consider just how far off the mark Liam was with that claim. the answer, surprisingly, is not too far away in regards of the last two Oasis albums, but pretty far of when considering their first two.
if you can't be bothered to read comments on certain tracks below, the shorter version of this review is that Different Gear, Still Speeding is an album well worth buying as well as being an album that at times makes you very, very thankful indeed for the "skip track" button on your CD or mp3 player.
let's be honest here - if you seek innovative, inventive music that breaks barriers, you really aren't likely to ever buy an album by either of the more famous Gallagher brothers. it would seem that Beady Eye locked themselves in the studio with a stack of Faces, Small Faces, Beatles, Stones and Who albums, along with the more psychedelic aspects of the Easy Rider soundtrack and used this as the blueprint for what they want to sound like. you either like this idea or you don't.
to highlight this with an example, take the track Beatles and Stones from the album. it is, as clear as day, a 1970-era Townshend run through My Generation, with Liam, when he isn't celebrating his ego, apparently cribbing words from any number of Elvis, Janis and Jimi songs. from an artistic point of view it will be this song that the lazy critics will pick up on to slam them for a lack of talent and imagination; to us fans it sounds like a rather ace tune because of, rather than due to, this.
those seeking some sort of comment about Noel are no doubt going to home in on the frankly brilliant track Kill For A Dream. other than musically showing off just how good Beady Eye are, the lyrics suggest it's a message to Noel in some ways, offering him the chance to "just call" to fix things. if it is intended as an offer it is one you cannot see ever being taken up, and quite frankly the band do not sound like they really need him to, anyway.
much of the album resides in a sort of "mellow psychedelia" space, which is a bit of a surprise but a rather pleasant one. the attempts at flat out rock, in particular the worst of the album, Standing On The Edge Of The Noise, seem a bit so-so when compared to the somewhat softer, more refined sounds being made in tracks like Wigwam, Wind Up Dream and the epitome of celebrating Liam's ego, The Beat Goes On. Beady Eye concerts are going to be a very interesting experience indeed, as the slower paced stuff seems likely to be more exciting for a crowd than the edgier, rock stuff.
Gem, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock are as fine a set of musicians as you will find working at the moment, and they are certainly not on this album just to serve Liam's ego or whims. whereas Noel was perhaps drifting off to his own thing in the last years of Oasis anyway, it seems the four left behind were very much talking the same language, and this carries on in the new band. the world shall miss Oasis, but never mind, says Beady Eye, the music carries on.
some critics have hailed this the equal of things like Definitely Maybe, which to my ears would certainly be going a bit too far. it's a good, solid album, and if i dare say it promising enough to suggest that their follow up album shall be rather well anticipated.
Beady Eye may not be "one million times" better than Oasis, but they are certainly a couple of thousand times better than people suspected or feared. give it a try, it's certainly more good than bad.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!