Liam Gallagher: As You Were review – The bark and the bite are back
As You Were
Just when you thought Liam Gallagher would go the way of the dodo, along comes a pair of big-time pop music producers and writers to drag him out of quicksand. Let it be said that Gallagher – after relieving big brother Noel of the final version of Oasis, and renaming them Beady Eye – was the architect of his own fall from grace. Everyone knew that while Noel wrote the songs he couldn’t invest them with the feral meaning that Liam effortlessly supplied. Oasis were in shameless thrall to The Beatles, whereas in Beady Eye, without the familiar “classic” blueprint tunes, Liam’s voice simply lost bark and bite.
Cue the arrival of a major-label. Dan Grech-Marguerat (producer and mixer of Hurts, Wolf Alice, Shura), Andrew Wyatt (songwriter for Florence and the Machine, Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars) and Greg Kurstin (songwriter and producer for Sia, Adele, Katy Perry, Lana Del Ray). The latter pair wisely judged their fractious charge in terms of delivery rather than insight – and with Gallagher arriving at their Los Angeles studio with fewer than a fistful of finished demos, the end results inevitably frame the singer in a positive light. Notwithstanding that the majority of As You Were is cookie cutter, made-to-order material, there are several invincible pop songs that once listened to a few times refuse to shift.
Best of the bunch include Bold, Paper Crown, Universal Gleam, I’ve All I Need, I Get By and For What it’s Worth. Wheels are hardly reinvented here, but there’s a recognisable ring to these songs that will snag the attention whether you want it to or not. Mediocre sub-Oasis tunes such as You Better Run, Come Back to Me and Greedy Soul show how clearly, how woefully, it might have gone, but it seems that for now, sense has prevailed. Liam Gallagher is in a good place. As you were, indeed.