• Mark Mathews

'As you were' Vs 'Who Built the Moon?' Which Gallagher wins?!

Back in the mid nineties you took a side, you decided on who you were backing and you fought in the playground as to why you were right. Were you with Oasis or where you with Blur?

Fast forward twenty odd years and the unbelievable has happened...you now are choosing between the brothers grim themselves!

Do you side with the enigmatic and hillariuous frontman that is Liam Gallagher or are you much more a High Flying Birds sort of bloke!

Yes, the battle is back and it is reasonably mild mannered (aside from the odd Potato based tweet from the younger Gallagher), but as the year has drawn closer to an end we've seen the release of 'As you Were' from Liam Gallagher and 'Who Built the Moon?' from the elder brohter, Noel.

Now, I jest about taking sides and having to defect to one camp over the other. Sure there are some folk out there (affectionately termed by Noely G as "Parker Monkeys"!) who seem to be taking the side of Liam and then there are people ('The Beige Brigade" according to Liam) who are siding only with Noel. Personally, I don't get it. The only merrit lies with the music - If it's good music you should enjoy them both.

Anyhoo, I'm here to give you my feelings and thoughts on both albums. I've waitied a bit to let the excitement and nonsense die down and to be able to give an honest opinion, becuase fankly the Gallaghers are so well loved here in the UK, that they can put out a steaming turd and there will be a huge section of the UK that will immediately shout from the roof tops that it is the greatest thing they've ever seen/smelt/heard.

And to a degree I understand this. The music business is boring now. There are very little exciting groups and personalities and the Gallagher's continue to fulfill that role. They breathe life into interviews and with Liam now operating Twitter based machinery down the pub it works for some funny old insults being thrown about.

The first two Oasis albums were life changing for me and sicne then I've always bought and listened to their collective output (Oasis, High Flying Birds, Beady Eye) hoping to be blown away like I once was as a kid - a bit like a junkie chases his first hit of smack...I assume. To use the High Flying Birds second album title as way of explaining: I am always, "Chasing Yesterday".

So, I understand how it is easy to get caught up in the moment. However, I've tried to review and listen to these two albums from a place of complete impartiality...so here goes!

Liam Gallagher: As You Were

Let's begin with Liams album, As You Were, because it was the one that came out first. My initial response to the singles that were dropped were of genuine shock - I thought we might have had to deal with more (distinctly average) Beady Eye styled tunes, but instead what we got were some pretty fantastic and uplifting songs that were at times 'balls out rock' (Wall of Glass) and at other times pretty damn etheral and delicate (For What it's worth and China Town). Of course these were very reminiscient of Oasis in the good ol' days, but Liam never professed to be reinventing the pop song and has always worn his (maybe limited) influences on his sleeve. And yet, these singles sounded fresh and exciting and 'Our Kid's' voice was sounding better than ever.

And thus the exctiement was drummed up to fever pitch, as the parkers were donned and people were screaming about 'Wall of Glass' being the cure for cancer (only a slight exageration) and other such fun whilst we waited for the album to be dropped. And when it did, it went straight to number one and everyone was in a frenzy about the saviour of Rock n Roll being back.

But is it all that good?

Well, firstly, yeah it is pretty good, if you go into it knowing that this is not a solo album by Thom Yorke. This is Liam Gallagher, the man that licks interviewers eyes, calls Police Officers 'Cunty Bollocks' and lives and dies by the works of the two Johns - Jonny Rotten and John Lennon.

If you can accept this, then you can celebrate and enjoy this album.

The songs are wonderfuly crafted and performed rock-pop tunes that will serve many a night out and no doubt introduce a new batch of young fans to the works of The Beatles, The Sex Pistols and of course Oasis and in the end is that not keeping music alive?!

The aggression of Rotten with the lightness and honesty of Lennon is here for all to see and hear and I think the latter is most interesting because we always expect the former from Liam. Lyrically, Liam is actually bearing a lot of himself, which his older brother was never that comfortable doing and it is interesting to have these contrasts and to understand the fragility that also exists within this rock star 'maniac'.

Is this the greatest album of the year? No. Not by a long stretch. However, is this album a great set of easy to get to know sing-a-long tunes? Sure, and well worth a listen before, during and after a night out.

Verdict: 6.5/10

Favourite Tracks: Wall of Glass, Paper Crown, China Town.

Noel Gallagher - Who Built The Moon?

Onto big brothers effort -the apparently 'experiemental', Who Built The Moon?

Much like his younger sibling, the album was teased to an absolute frenzy where people (myself massively included!) were chomping at the bit to hear the album. The first single was released and (unlike with Liam's singles), I thought:

"Oh Christ, The Chief has tried to experiemnt and made a bit of a stinker".

Holy Mountain, has since grown on me a little but I'm by no means a true blue fan. That said though, I'm not big into Don't look back in anger either (Read this) but I appreciate it as a song and what I hear with Holy Mountain is another infectious tune that when heard on a night out, will be hard to not, at the very least, bob your head to.

Anyway, Who Built The Moon? has been promoted as a hugely experiemental effort, almost as if it is the new Sgt. Peppers.

Noel Wishes.

Let's get one thing straight - This is still a Noel Gallagher album. Its is expereimental in the context of it's writer, but if you are hoping for something Jean Michel Jarre would come up with then think again. Much like his younger brothers album, you should come at this album knowing what you are dealing with in order to get the most out of it.

And there is a lot to get out of it.

Noel has actually pushed himself on this album quite a bit. You can hear he wants to make something different and you can hear that he is trying out new sounds and new ways of writing and recording a song. Sure, when I say 'new' it is new to him, but none-the-less, it is a 'new' Noel Gallagher on parts of the album.

This approach makes for quite an interesting and almost schizophrenic album - It's still got the Noely G signature of catchy hooks and postitive melodies, but there is a feeling of someone trying to punch his way out of a self imposed box.

It should be mentioned that the bonus track at the end of the album, (Dead in the Water) could not be more Noel Gallagher, than if Noel Gallagher turned up at your house and said "Hey. I'm noel Gallagher. Have a go on my eyebrows"...BUT...it's incredible! The recording (which was done as a warm up to a live radio performance in Ireland) is so haunting, fragile and beautiful that you are hard pressed to not fall in love with his old skills and songwriting tools. In fact, if I was to be totally honest with you (and I will), I couldn't say how often I will actually go back to this album after a few months, but this song is one I can guarantee I will always go back and listen to. Not sure what that says about the album though to be fair!

Anyway, overall this album is solid, as you would expect from The Chief. Sure, some songs on this album sound like a new Noel, (Fort Knox and It's a Beautiful World) whilst others don't sound all that different to what we've heard before (The Man Who Built the Moon and If Love is the Law), but you get a sense that this is maybe a start of a journey with more twists and turns to come. Where he was borrowing from the sixties and the early secventies in the past, Who Built the Moon? sounds like we've stepped a bit more into the eighties. There are some lyrics and rhymes that I've heard MANY times before from Noel, but out of all his albums, this is the one that I wish had have followed up, (Whats the story) Morning Glory.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Favourite tracks: Fort Knox, It's a Beautiful World, Dead in the Water.

What do you think of the Gallagher's albums? Let me know in the comments.

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