Saturday, February 26, 2011

Beady Eye - Different Gear, Still Speeding review

Liam Gallagher strikes the first blow in the post-Oasis round of sibling rivalry that saw chief songwriter and guitarist, Noel Gallagher, quit the band he and his brother steered to superstardom. With Liam's new band, Beady Eye,  he jumps in the Delorean and floors it to 88 miles per hour to the mid-70s to pilfer the music of his influences. Despite being up to the same old tricks, Beady Eye isn't exactly the Oasis v2.0 everyone was expecting.

Let's get one thing clear, regardless of what you think of Oasis or the Gallagher brothers, Liam has one of the best rock 'n roll voices in history.  His scruffy, nasally croon is one of the most memorable voices I've ever heard, and is one of things that made Oasis instantly recognizable.  On Beady Eye's debut album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, Liam sounds great, showcasing one of his best vocal performances in years.  The rest of the band performs with an enthusiasm that is normally reserved for bands half their age, and the big arrangements carry simple melodies to impressive heights.

Beady Eye, much like Oasis, is stuck in a time warp.  This isn't a bad thing, as each song carries with it a robust vigor with a splash of nostalgia.  Oasis didn't have any qualms about ripping off their heroes, and neither does Beady Eye.  As far as the songs themselves are concerned, the lyrics leave something to be desired, as many of the tracks deal with themes of the aging rock star, reflections of life on the road, money, rocking out, you get the idea.  That being said, I'm not exactly listening to Oasis or Beady Eye to uncover some sort of profound revelation, and I doubt that many people do.

Despite the fact that most thought that the album would be abysmally bad (myself included), Different Gear, Still Speeding manages to deliver the goods in a number of ways.  It doesn't pretend to be anything than more than a rock n' roll record.  Vicious, pounding drums, heart pumping basslines and huge guitar riffs rip through the entire album.  Songs build earnestly and swell into epic proportions, incorporating virtually every stylistic indulgence of the 60s and 70s ("The Morning Son", "Bring The Light").  When the album is good, it's good, and no matter how hokey or contrived the lyrics are, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone that isn't tapping his foot.

Despite Liam and company's best effort, Different Gear, Still Speeding does have its dull moments.  A few of the ballads plod along with a yawn ("The Beat Goes On", "Kill For A Dream"), and some of the rockers are unevenly paced with some truly laughable lyrics ("Wind Up Dream").  Despite these shortcomings, Beady Eye's debut has proved itself to be a fun and rather enjoyable listen, completely defying most peoples preconceived opinion, especially if you are a fan of Oasis and classic rock from the 60s and 70s.  I don't think anyone could have accurately predicted just how solid the album is, except for maybe Liam himself.

The ball is in your court, Noel.

Beady Eye Different Gear, Still Speeding

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