I’m going into this review more or less blind. Besides the obvious Oasis backstory and hearing a radio single, I don’t know what to expect.
The album is off to a promising start with “Shockwave” which sounds like a someone took a guitar-driven dad rock jam and drenched it in a bunch of reverb and left it out in the sun for a while. The effect is quite nice, actually. I wonder if the rest of the album will be like this.
Once you get into the meat of the record, you realize that first impressions are not the default setting of the music, usually. That was the case with me, and it only took me accidentally shuffling from track 1 to track 8—which is titled “Alright Now.” It sounds emotionally like a dude would feel telling his buddies “Alright, now” in an effort to stop a fight. There isn’t any conflict in the song, but it’s not exactly happy either.
“Now That I’ve Found You” feels like a cousin of sorts to the radio single I mentioned earlier, “For What It’s Worth.” There’s a vibe I’m just gonna call “Autumnal upbeat pensive” that I first felt in college when I heard Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” on the radio, that continued with “For What It’s Worth,” now this track, and really most of this record.
One exception to that vibe I just mentioned comes forth in “Halo,” a barnburner that oozes cool. I mean, sure—a line like “she’s filling up my sky like a halo round the sun” is a bit hokey, but it’s also cool. And the cool factor always outweighs the cheese factor, if it exists in a song at all. Gallagher’s fixation with sky imagery continues in “Why Me? Why Not” in which he muses at one point to his lover “you’ve got me kissing the sky.” It’s okay though, because as in the last song, the cool factor continues with some well placed riffage and more sun-drenched arrangements.
Liam Gallagher isn’t here just to bring the badassery, though. He’s perfectly capable to keeping within the realms of straightforward pop rock. Well, kind of. I was just about to complete that thought but some new wave, very 80s sounding guitar licks punched through the pleasant malaise of “Alright Now.” That song, man! “Meadow” continues in the same vein, venturing toward a more Americana sound.
The end of the record ties all the sounds together quite well—showing that track order isn’t just a lost art these days. “Gone” gets a bit orchestral, adding even more layers to the Americana and sun-drenched alternative mindsets established earlier. “Invisible Sun” brings the album even more full circle, with a groove that is fun and effortlessly suave. If I were a drummer, I would enjoy playing this song the most.
In general, I found this record to be multidimensional and easy to enjoy at the same time. It’s not always easy to strike that balance. It’s hard to say where this will end up in my year-end list, but my admiration for Liam’s sound has certainly gone up.
Oh, and by the way—I just discovered his Twitter account. What the heck, dude?