Album review: Beady Eye/Different Gear,Still Speeding

Posted: January 9, 2012 in Album review: rock
Tags: , , , ,

Right now I don’t care if this is the new Oasis album.

I am gazing upon the new Liam Gallagher LP under the name Beady Eye, ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’. The feel of this heavy vinyl double-gatefold album is just what I want to feel. This is the ‘substance’ I love about record albums – sure feels better than a CD or – hmmm – a download.

The artwork is exceptional (design by House@INTRO – check em out): great fun cover image, slightly wasted gatefold inner and perfect rear cover shot of the band, bathed in the 1960’s winter sun glow of Beatlesque nostalgia – well, it IS a Gallagher work after all. The inner LP sleeves are covered with pastiche, collage artwork, full of turn of the century images, sliced up POP ART style and pasted up like a PUNK fanzine.

Already I am thinking “hmmmm, weighty, gatefold, double album, great art – who cares of the music is – as Our Kid would say – shite…”

But the music is far from shite. In a sense I am lucky that I never really followed Oasis, so any idea of a Second Coming of the 210th Saviours of Rock® is off my radar. I can actually listen to this as a new release, unencumbered (is anything in POP culture ever really unencumbered?) by the Legend of the Brothers Gallagher.

Noel is very quiet these days, so as usual, it is up to Liam to make some noise. And make some noise he does with old bandmates Gem Archer and Andy Bell – a great, stonkin’ 60’s flavoured rock noise (just MADE for vinyl, by the way). Opener ‘Four Letter Word’ rocks with a punk jangle that, like all great album openers, is an announcement of what is to come. ‘Bring the Light’ is Liam-does-McCartney-does-JerryLeeLewis. ‘Millionaire’ is Ronnie Lane country honk. ‘The Roller’ nails British rock down – like so many of these songs, it reminds you of something that you just cannot put your finger on.

Producer Steve Lillywhite conjures a sound that walks the line between now and then perfectly – scooped-out guitar sounds, compressed cymbal crashes, the lot. Lillywhite really lets his head go on the two psychedelic gems that are ‘The Beat Goes On’ and ‘The Morning Son’ bathing both in Beatles lysergic haze.

So much is made of this sound being too derivative of its obvious influences – but today’s charts and industry are so full of Dylan sound-a-likes and new New York Dolls that this charge, while true, loses relevance when faced with an LP of this quality.

Yes, the endless 60’s lyric and musical references are there, as in Oasis – but what better frame for Liam Gallagher’s voice? On ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ the man that David Bowie once called “the best lead singer in Britain” is singing better than ever.

Maybe it is because there is no Noel to fight with on this one. Towards the end Oasis albums seemed to have become laddish musical dick-measuring contests – all cocaine and testosterone and semi-acoustics on 11. This record is cooler and lighter with way more scope than I ever remember Oasis displaying.

This is a really good British Pop record – not a BritPop record – a British Pop record. A million miles from shite.

Published May 2011 on vinylcafe.com.au

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