When Noel Gallagher announced in August 2009 that he was leaving Oasis for the 181st but seemingly final time--after a brawl with his famously feuding little brother Liam, backstage at Paris's Rock en Seine festival, resulted in one of his guitars getting smashed--many doubters assumed that'd be the end of Oasis, and, more obviously, of Liam Gallagher's musical career. After all, Noel was Oasis's principal songwriter, the guy who built the Wonderwall. And in the past, Liam had occasionally demonstated his expendability by being a no-show at gigs, thus allowing Noel to easily and capably fill in on lead vocals. (Case in point: that notorious 1996 "MTV Unplugged" performance, during which Liam's only contribution was heckling Noel from the peanut gallery).
So many people will be surprised to learn that while Noel is presumably still working on some sort of solo project, Liam and members of Oasis's most recent lineup (Gem Archer, Andy Bell, Chris Sharrock, Jay Darlington) have beaten him to the punch (no pun intended) by releasing new music first. They're not billing themselves as Oasis, or even Oasis Mach II--Liam's new project is instead called Beady Eye--but their sound is familiar indeed.
So what's the verdict? Well, Beady Eye's debut single "Bring The Light," which came out a couple months ago, wasn't exactly "Champagne Supernova." It wasn't even "D'You Know What I Mean." It wasn't bad--it was a fun romp, featuring some of Liam's most energized vocals in years, with the backup-singer soul sisters giving it a sort of throwback Daptonian vibe--but it was basically pub-rock, a boozy boogie-woogie throwaway whose only lyrics seemed to be "baby come on, baby come on."
Well, now Beady Eye are set to release their debut album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, and their latest single, "The Roller," is a massive improvement. It's an upbeat, cocksure, Morning Glory-style pop ditty...and hey, it sounds like Oasis, plain and simple.
Actually, it just sounds like the Beatles. It sounds so Beatlesque, in fact, that even Noel Gallagher himself would raise a (uni-)eyebrow upon hearing it. But it's hardly the first time a Gallagher has been accused of being, um, "inpisred" by the Fab Four. And hey, with no Oasis members having released new music since 2008's undersung final album Dig Out Your Soul (which actually featured five Liam-penned songs, including the amazing "I'm Outta Time," still his best composition yet), it's nice to welcome at least one of the brothers back.
Beady Eye's eye album was produced by the legendaty Steve Lillywhite, which certainly sounds promising. And sometime this year, Noel is supposed to release some new material of his own. Then the Gallagher brothers can continue their feud in the pop marketplace.
Watch this space...