I’ve always been Team Liam. Let’s just clear that up right away, shall we? However, I do thoroughly believe that Liam Gallagher works at his best with brother Noel at his side. Does Beady Eye’s debut, Different Gear, Still Speeding, prove my point? Sort of.
We all know that Noel was the driving force behind Oasis’s biggest hits. Liam’s contributions were minimal at best (“Little James”, “Songbird”, and “The Meaning of Soul” to name a few) but definitely memorable. When news broke that Liam was going ahead with essentially Oasis 2.0 (All of Oasis at the time without Noel), I was definitely skeptical.
Gallagher has some fine support with guitarists Andy Bell and Gem Archer (Both of whom have been with Oasis since 2000) as well as drummer Chris Sharrock who toured with Oasis during the Dig Out Your Soul World Tour. Top it off with sleek production from Steve Lillywhite (DMB, U2, 30STM), and you’ve got the makings of a fine album.
On first listen, DGSS is a really strong, solid debut and surprisingly mature from the former boozin’, brawlin’ Oasis frontman. A more mature Liam Gallagher? ‘Fraid so. Ok, so starting out your first album sans brother with a rocker of a song called “Four Letter Word” which basically tells him to “sod off” might not be the most mature thing but beggars can’t be choosers, ok?
The two acoustic numbers that follow are incredible. “Millionaire” is an upbeat acoustic number that reels you in some more and “The Roller” is a piano-laden bouncer that could easily have been a hit single off of any Oasis album. Later on there’s “Wigwam” which is a really good indication of where Beady Eye are headed. At six and a half minutes, it’s definitely my favorite on the album and possibly the best. It’s got that Revolver/Rubber Soul trippy Beatles-era vibe and has a great breakdown that includes a solid march and Liam crooning “I’m comin’ up” over and over again.
That’s not to say the album is without its faults.
“Bring The Light” is just crap. It’s repetitive and boring. It was also the first song Beady Eye released off of this, so they are very lucky that people are still sticking around to see what’s next. And there are definitely moments of lull in the middle.
As a debut album by any other band, Different Gear, Still Speeding would be tops. Being that it’s the next evolution of Oasis, more or less, I was definitely expecting a little more especially coming off of 2008’s Dig Out Your Soul which was the strongest Oasis release since 2000’s Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.
I think Liam needs Noel just as much as Noel needs Liam. Too bad neither one of them will ever admit that.