Half the fun of former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher announcing his debut solo album ‘As You Were’ has been all the promo he’s done in the run up to its release; Gallagher’s great talent has always been giving a brilliant interview. As one of the last true rock stars he’s always got a good story, from the time a fan thought his dandruff was cocaine and started snorting it, to the time he woke up with Steve Coogan in his bed - he’s one entertaining guy, and fortunately his latest album’s pretty entertaining too.
Liam describes opener ‘Wall of Glass’ as “no nonsense, Rock ‘n’ Roll guitar music” and that pretty much sums it up. Wailing harmonica, and pounding kick drum welcome you to the record in shameless Rock ‘n’ Roll fashion. As you may suspect from any record associated with a Gallagher, this album is full of big Choruses. ‘For What It’s Worth’ would have fit right in at Knebworth and ‘Greedy Soul’ has been getting middle aged men jumping at festivals up and down the country all summer. Liam shows his sensitive side too on songs like ‘Paper Crown’ and he asserts himself as one of the great singers of our times with blistering vocal performances throughout this album.
If there’s one low point of this record it’s the clunky, juvenile political commentary on the album’s second single ‘Chinatown’.
Well the cops are taking over / While everyone's in yoga / 'Cause happiness is still a warm gun / What's it to be free man? / What's a European? / Me I just believe in the sun /
It’s not horrific, but it makes you slightly uncomfortable, and there’s not much that’s more jarring than former voice of a generation Liam Gallagher snarling the word ‘yoga’ into your ears.
‘As You Were’ is a thoroughly enjoyable 45 minutes of unashamedly unoriginal rock music. It’s a great success for Gallagher following his disappointing efforts with Beady Eye. As the man himself said he’s ‘not reinventing the wheel’, ‘just giving it a new polish’. He summed it all up in an interview with the Guardian: ‘good songs, great vocals, good words’ - he could’ve written the review for me.
Photo: ES Magazine / Ben Rayne