As You Were
As outspoken as he is, it’s always refreshing to see Liam Gallagher really put his money where his mouth is. Taking his first step as a solo artist since disbanding Beady Eye, Gallagher is stronger than ever, weaving beautiful melodies with a shockingly inspiring sonic pallet. Writing some of his most standout material in over a decade, the album finds Gallagher not only alluding to his previous highlights but also evolving as an artist.
Shredding through distressing distortion on “Wall Of Glass” Gallagher brings utterly poetic lyricism with viscerally visual qualities. Catchy and immediate, his band really grinds out the grooves for something both old and new. “Bold” opens with a descending melody that bears an instantly iconic quality, as his growing dynamics lift the tension higher. As the song moves to a more ethereal finally, it even recalls bits of Ian Brown’s “F.E.A.R.” while carrying a haunting melody.
“Greedy Soul” is unfortunately a little predictable in its lyricism and derivative verses, but it’s Gallagher’s delivery that really heightens this song. Bursting with energy and sonic rushes of life, it carries an electricity that will surely be a thrill live. Quieting down on “Paper Crown,” there’s a saddened reflection in Gallagher’s voice. Poetic as it is, the addictive melodies and surprisingly tender performance is what makes this song feel most special.
Gallagher’s pension for great writing is so noticeable when you hear hooks like on “For What It’s Worth” as the song immediately demands attention. In what may be the closest he’s gotten to an Oasis-style track in a while, he makes a beautiful track that will get stuck in your head for days. “When I’m In Need” gets distant in its soft vocals, while hitting Beatles’ style harmonies at times. More of a aesthetically mesmerizing track, its sonic beauty is almost undersold by the slow pace it follows.
“You Better Run” takes a heady stomp, as Gallagher gets boisterous and shouts down detractors with swagger. With a grandeur and ripping riffs, the chorus booms with a raw power, lifting the more straightforward composition. Rolling his guitars up and down, “I Get By” finds Gallagher crashing through blues in unpredictable ways. The cascading notes that fill its echo-laden bridge add another layer to his dense production as well.
Not staying away from even the most direct Beatles’ reference when it fits, “Chinatown” subverts the expectations of an acoustic track in his warped production. Making something simple even more beautiful and spiraling his melodies into deeper moments, the track is constantly surprising. “Come Back To Me” starts brash and potentially a little slimy, while its lyrics reveal just as much care as despair. The chorus hook is deliciously infectious, leading into piano grooves so exciting that it’s surprise they don’t litter the track.
“Universal Gleam” takes some familiar chord progressions and layers effects and Gallagher’s huge melodies until its almost unrecognizable. A little vocally reserved, the slower moments of the track do feel like they’re waiting for the rest of the track. Closing on the sunny “I’ve All I Need” it seems like a slow closer until Gallagher pulls back the curtain for some reverb-drenched magic. The dynamic solo and instrumental breaks that outro the song are so powerful that in the line of the entire album it promises even more great music to come from Gallagher.
Words by Owen Maxwell