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Beady Eye album review: among the best albums

LONDON - Running Time: 51:34.
01. Four Letter Word (4:17)
02. Millionaire (3:19)
03. The Roller (3:34)
04. Beatles & Stones (2:56)
05. Wind Up Dream (3:27)
06. Bring The Light (3:39)
07. For Anyone (2:15)
08. Kill For A Dream (4:39)
09. Standing On The Edge Of Noise (2:52)
10. Wigwam (6:39)
11. Three Ring Circus (3:09)
12. The Beat Goes On (4:45)
13. The Morning Son (6:03)

Be honest. If you were the gambling type, whose chances did you favour following the bitter dissolution of Oasis in August 2009? Was it Noel, band gaffer with the anthemic Midas touch now facing what seemed an inevitable transition to Weller-esque solo Britpop godhead? Or was it Liam, voted the greatest frontman of all time by Q, yet potentially one now fronting thin air if severed from his big brother's masterplan? The safe wager seemed to be Noel, even if 18 months on we're still waiting for him to fulfil those expectations and make the crucial next move. Whereas to back Liam's bid for Noel-less glory felt at best blindly optimistic, at worst laughably imprudent.
Consider the odds. Liam has the "The Voice", but while his sporadic songwriting has matured considerably since 2000's much-derided Little James, his ability to pen a whole album is ominously unproven. The same applies to his faithful ex-Oasis right-hand men Gem Archer and Andy Bell, both of whom have borne due critical flak for supplying the band's weakest album filler since 2002's Heathen Chemistry. Not great omens, and that is before they handicap themselves with the preposterous real ale-worthy name of Beady Eye, exacerbated by Liam's typically outrageous hyperbole that they were "going to be bigger" than Oasis and Noel "will come crawling back". On paper, the story was already writing itself, all elements in place for what promised to be the most embarrassing rock folly this side of Tin Machine.
So by virtue of circumstance, his post-Oasis moment of truth, Beady Eye's Different Gear, Still Speeding was always going to be one of the most important records Liam Gallagher would ever make. The gobsmacking reality is that it's also among the best. Which isn't to say that Oasis-loathing cynics won't find fish in its barrel to keep themselves trigger happy. No surprise that, yes, a lot of it sounds like The Beatles, the lyrics are no threat to Morrissey and, as in Oasis, musically speaking nobody here is reinventing the wheel. But such mean-spirited nit-picking evaporates in the face of an album which awes in its consistency, melody, determination and, perhaps most surprisingly, positivity; as was never the case with every Oasis album after 1995's (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, making this, however unlikely it sounds, the strongest record Liam's made since.
This do-or-die sense of purpose is evident from the first wah-wah smack of Four Letter Word, akin to Spencer Davis Group's I'm A Man as played by The Stooges yet still familiarly Oasis-esque not to scare the horses. It's an opposite setting for Liam's opening war cry, "Sleepwalk your life away if that turns you on," followed by the first of the album's many allusions to the Gallagher sibling soap opera; "the battle's on and the song is the prize", or its snarling moral "nothing ever lasts FOREVER!" A necessarily cathartic overture, perhaps, it's rock'n'roll gusto sets the bar for at least half of Different Gear.....: from Bring the Light, a romping Jerry Lee Lewis homage manic enough to overcome its banal "baby, c'mon" vocal to the free blues rock chug of Three Ring Circus and the Plastic Ono jam Standing On The Edge Of The Noise. Most ravishingly raucous is Beatles and Stones, Gallagher's mission statement that he's "gonna stand the test of time" like its titular icons over a garage rock stomp twitching between The Who's My Generation and Failure by The La's.
If Beady Eye were merely a balls-to-the-wall one-trick pony this would be a passable debut. That it's above and beyond so is thanks to the majority which chooses melodic beauty over sonic boisterousness, much credit due to the clarity of producer Steve Lillywhite's touch extracting Liam's brightest vocals in aeons. Both Millionaire, a gem of '70s slide-guitar glam, and the deliriously romantic For Anyone show a sublime pop sensibility. But the big guns here are all epic ballads, lighters first rising aloft on Kill For A Dream, the wistful alternative to Four Letter Word's post-split autopsy, which just might reduce grown Oasis fans to tears. "Life's too short not to forgive," sings Liam, "I'm here if you wanna call." Its scarf-waving outro is soon eclipsed by the soulful Wigwam climaxing after six minutes in a gospel chorus with Liam "coming up" from the depths of despair.
The best, however, is saved till last. The Beat Goes On is an ELO fairytale of a tune, Liam pondering his own death and his heavenly reception by an angel's choir in Beady Eye's equivalent to Don't Look Back in Anger. "It's not the end of the world/It's not even the end of the day." It seems unsurpassable until The Morning Son ripples in on the tide of Champagne Supernova, just Liam, acoustic guitar and a tsunami of poignancy: "I stand alone/Nobody knows/ The morning son has rose." It's a shudder-inducing stroke of genius, Gallagher effectively serenading his own rebirth as the music softly explodes towards a frantic finale again reminiscent of Lillywhite's La's debit and its comparable closer Looking Glass. Breathtaking, in fact.
If the Liam Gallagher of Oasis was the greatest frontman of all time the Different Gear.... is evidence enough that with Beady Eye he's created another great British guitar band to justify that honour. And if the battle really is on, then, much to the bookmaker's horror, this decimates all negative preconceptions. The half-score an effortless one-nil to our kid. Now over to you, big brother.

Download: The Beat Goes On (Q50)//Four Letter Word//Millionaire//The Morning Son//For Anyone
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Beady Eye gigography and next tour dates


30 May - Forum, Milan, Italy (the first "Noeless" gig since 1991 when he didn't join Oasis yet)

summer tour without Noel


16 November - Andy Bell unplugged - Debaser, Stockholm, Sweden (bootleg)


3rd & 4th March - Barrowland, Glasgow, Scotland +here and here + bootleg
6th & 7th March - O2 Apollo, Manchester +bootleg 1 +bootleg 2
9th & 10th March - Troxy, London +bootleg 1
13 March - Casino de Paris, Paris, france
14 March - E-Werk, Koln, Germany
16 March - Alcatraz, Milan, Italy +dvd bootleg
18 March - La Riviera, Madrid, Spain +bootleg
19 March - Bikini, Toulouse, france
21 March - Paradiso, Amsterdam, Holland (bootleg)
22 March - Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium (bootleg)
14 & 15 April - The Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland here a bootleg image
17 April - Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
20 April - O2 Academy, Newcastle (a photo here)
23 April - Centre, Newport (photo and bootleg)
30 May - Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, Germany
+a photo here + win tickets here
8 June - Saschall, Firenze, Italy +my story here +bootleg here +win tickets here
11th June - Papillons de Nuit Festival, Saint Lo, france
12 June - Isle of Wight festival +story here and here +interview here +videos here +interview and bootleg here
25th June - Theater of Living Art, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
30 June - Rock Werchter, Belgium (bootleg)
1 July - Main Square Festival, Arras, france +a photo here
7 July - BBK Live Festival, Bilbao, Spain
9 July - Oxegen Festival, Naas, Ireland
26 August - Reading Festival (win tickets) +videos here +review&video here +bootleg here
3 September - AX Hall, Seoul, South Korea
14 September - Twinkle Rock Festival, Taipei, Taiwan
7 October - Atlantico, Rome, Italy +main bootleg here +another bootleg here
+win the concert here
11 October - Volkshaus, Zurich, Switzerland (postponed)
13 October - Gasometer, Vienna, Austria (postponed)
31 October - Theater Caupolican, Santiago, Chile
2 November - Teatro de Verano Ramon Collazo, Montevideo, Uruguay
3 November - Teatro Colegiales, Buenos Aires, Argentina
4 November - Personal Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina
5 November - Planeta Terra festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil
12 November - O2 Academy, Sheffield
14 November - O2 Academy, Birmingham
17 November - O2 Academy Brixton, London
2 December - The Warfield, San Francisco, U.S.A.
3 December - Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, U.S.A. +another complete review here +win tickets here and here
5 December - First Avenue, Minneapolis, U.S.A.
6 December - The Rave Ballroon, Milwaukee, U.S.A.
9 December - Terminal 5, New York, U.S.A.
10 December - House of Blues, Boston, U.S.A.


new tour


3 June - Abbey Road, London (acoustic) +bootleg here
7 June - McClusky's, Kingston (album launch acoustic gig)

8 November - Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland


Noel Gallagher solo gigography, and Low Lying Turds tour dates

(although his blinded fans say he's a "new solo artist", it's 20 years he's around and already played "solo" gigs previously (the first one in 1994), with the help of other people of course, as the Unplugged 1996, the gig for Tibet, the tour in 2006-2007, London, Milan, Manchester, Moscow, Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, Australia, etc.)


25 March - Royal Albert Hall - London


28 November - Alcatraz - Milan, Italy + review here +video bootleg here +audio and video bootleg here


lost interest... even Noel got bored of himself

10 April - Auditorio Banamex - Monterrey, Mexico (cancelled)



fans leave the gig again and ask for Liam again
..... € 10 = £ 8

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