After the breakup of Oasis, Noel Gallagher took some time off to lick his wounds after having left the band and the other band members, including brother Liam Gallagher, behind. Although it is unclear what caused this, what is widely accepted is that the two brothers had a major fight on the night of the last performance that they ever did in a band. Sadly, they would never work together on music again.
Noel moved quickly to get a decent band together of his own and prepared to release an album. He wanted something more interesting and unique than the material Oasis was delivering in the 2000s. This was the result, his first solo album. But is it any good? Let’s find out.
We begin with Everybody’s On The Run which goes into a series of drumbeats and choirs, along with some synth strings. Noel proves himself to be a decent singer and an accomplished musician. The lyrics and emotion of this song are incredibly powerful, it’s a good song. The instrumental is certainly more varied than anything Oasis had in mind from the Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants era. It’s intended to be a departure from the average rock and roll path that the band blazed in the past. It’s very moving.
Next is Dream On. It’s a more stomp based number, with strummed acoustic guitars. Noel does well here, although the material here seemingly is no Definitely Maybe or (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? But considering this genius is powering on with these songs, that is largely forgivable. It’s a simple and singalong number that has a large variety of instrumentation on it. The nah-nahs in the middle of the song are very Oasis like. There are some semi-jazz horns in the background too.
If I Had A Gun… is the next song, a sort of a musical cross between the Oasis songs Wonderwall and Force Of Nature. The lyrics are much deeper than that, however. It is likely about the feeling of love with another person. Regardless, it is a good and moving song. Nice effort here. It’s a song filled with emotion and is very distinctively Noel Gallagher. It fades out in a U2/Coldplay sort of way.
The Death Of You And Me was the first single from the album. It’s really sounding a lot like Paul McCartney in the way it has more traditional instrumentation on it. If Liam Gallagher considered himself to be a reincarnation of John Lennon, the same thing could be said about Noel Gallagher and Paul McCartney. It’s another good song, slightly psychedelic and more interesting than Oasis was. The trumpet solo is gorgeous.
The next song is super emotional (I Wanna Live A Dream In My) Record Machine. This song is so wonderful and beautiful that it is a real tearjerker. The choirs and strings here are absolutely beautiful, along with other instrumentation. It’s almost a Be Here Now sort of effort. Still, it is original Noel Gallagher and a truly great underrated song. A must listen. A very emotional listen.
After that we have AKA…What A Life! which is more pacing listen with a piano riff and Noel Gallagher singing away very well. It’s obvious he here has permanently moved on from Oasis and his brother Liam. It’s nothing at all like the pop/rock songs he made in the 1990s. It is uplifting and danceable, just another good song from the chief. Deep.
Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks is what the title says, a weak point of the album. It’s a nonsensical piece about authority and it doesn’t make sense here. It’s listenable, just rather rubbishy here. In any case, that is forgivable. Noel had made worse songs in the past. The sax solo is reassuring though.
AKA…Broken Arrow is an improvement with bongos and a better musical focus here. It’s a danceable song from Noel, rather than being overly intellectual about music, which he has done so in the past. The lyrics are rather impressionistic. Is music an art form? It definitely is, and this song is proof of that. All the elements of the song are really good here. There is almost a Live Forever drum beat towards the end, too.
Next up is (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach. It’s a rather rubbish song, to begin with, but gets better when it reaches the chorus. Noel really knows his craft, he is a super-genius musician. Even the lesser cuts, such as this one, shine bright. Good on you Noel. A good mix of sounds makes this danceable. It ends with seawater waves rushing around.
The last song on the album is Stop The Clocks. Yes, it is the same song that the Oasis compilation was named after. It’s a mainly acoustic piece, with some very artistic lyrics in it. It’s unusual that Noel didn’t use this song during Oasis’s time. Still, it is a great and beautiful song. The album ends on a high note here. A very good piece. The end sounds like King Crimson, strangely enough.
So, does Noel Gallagher keep his consistency of music, even after Oasis? The short answer – yes. The Noel/Liam divide should not exist. Both are great musicians, and this solo effort is proof that Noel has some great musical power up his sleeve. It’s a consistent and powerful album, with a good array of songs here. If you loved Oasis, you should give this a listen.