The bland leading the bland, Noel Gallagher‘s most recent High Flying Birds fit wouldn’t ordinarily make the Monolith Cocktail remit, we are nevertheless making an exception in the case of a lambasted review from the inimitable and forthright antagonist Sean Bw Parker who questions the wisdom and relevance of Gallagher’s latest nostalgic lumpen songbook.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds ‘Chasing Yesterday’ (Sour Mash)
Twenty odd years from his days as a guitar roadie for baggy mechanics The Inspiral Carpets, funniest northerner in indie rock Noel Gallagher refuses to let it lie. Upon the release of Chasing Yesterday, it would seem he pushed the arsenic sealed envelope a bit too far when he said he’d rather drink petrol straight from the nozzle than listen to the UK’s favourite Elvis impersonator, Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner do another interview.
Recently shuffling off the malignant shadow of anxiety-crippled brother Liam, NG has become somehow self proclaimed grumpy uncle of rock, cropping up in article after article in his regulation Jesus and Mary Chain leather jacket and leathery, weather worn coal mine-via-meth face. A self-professed stammerer, his years of silence have in more recent ones loosened his tongue in the direction of acerbic spleen, oiled along by the riches that ensure he would only reform Oasis for £500 million.
So far, so Noel. He’s nasty to anyone on the up, and often with good reason. The problem is, the Gallagher brothers, with their constant insistence on ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’, have been lowering expectations since the mid nineties about what constitutes good music. Noel presumably thinks Weller is progressive, when he doesn’t think the Chemical Brothers are on the cutting edge of dance.
The title Chasing Yesterday says it all really; the nostalgia, the passive defeatism, and the acknowledgement that he has never had many ideas past a sing along chorus. Workingman’s dead, Noel; he’s listening to Disclosure, for better or worse. The best rock and roll comes from risks within the form, from Lennon to Hendrix, Bowie to Rotten, Ryder to yes, Albarn. Noel often seems to pretty much acknowledge this – but it surely can’t please the old crank that his wit has become far more well known than his musical prowess. The Noel Gallagher of Chasing Yesterday: great to share a beer with, but for god’s sake please stop sleepwalking. Isn’t British life dull enough without this plodding, lumpen photocopy of Beady Eye, of all things?