Album Review – ‘Chasing Yesterday’ by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ hotly anticipated second album, Changing Yesterday, came out on March 2nd 2015. The question is whether or not it has lived up to the legacy of what came before, in both Oasis and the band’s debut album. It has certainly received mixed reviews and yet it seems on track to ease into the number one spot on the album charts.

The general picture of the album breaks no particularly new ground, and it’s recognisably a Noel Gallagher album in its anthemic and expansive qualities. The guitar sound of the record however is a cleaner, sharper, and more American than previously heard, though there are homages to a dirtier British sound such as the line underneath the strings of ‘Everybody’s On the Run’.

The Fender-esque sound gives a rockabilly effect to some of the licks seen on ‘Freaky Teeth’, and, coupled with the haunting organ of the song, it adds something unique to the album, something not unlike the some of the Cramps songs heard in the psychobilly genre  – the overall sound of the song is much more produced, however, and offers just a fleeting glimpse of such.

The production quality is continued with songs such as ‘While the Song Remains the Same’  (an obvious reference to the Led Zeppelin track ‘The Song Remains the Same’). It is the production that gives much of the bed upon which the songs are rested, and it allows Noel’s voice and guitar to soar above the song, uninhibited by not having to carry the music.

Noel returns to comfortable territory in ‘Riverman’, a song that would happily sit on an Oasis album with its catchy chord progression and anthemic direct beat (though the saxophone solo felt slightly out of place)

Ballad of a Mighty Man I

It is a good song off a commendable album in which Noel shows of his great skill as a song writer. The worry however is that is all the record is; a solid album. It is not a great album, it is not something we can truly cherish as a complete piece of art. It does not break enough new ground musically and leaves Noel in a vulnerable place. To progress to true-icon status, he needs to prove his versatility in his next album and chop and change what he knows is a good formula by taking some more risks with his sound. Do this and he can truly stand amongst giants.

This article was written by Sam Brunt

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