Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Back the Way We Came Vol 1 – A bit of a swizz

Fri, Jun 4, 2021, 05:00

   
 

Album:
Back the Way We Came Vol. 1, 2011-2021

Artist:
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Label:
Sour Mash

Genre:
Rock

“The finest songwriter of his generation,” was George Martin’s estimation of Noel Gallagher. Where do you go from there? Claim with some justification that Gallagher has forever based his entire songwriting career on the blueprints created by others? Or that he has used these same blueprints as the launchpad for a melting-pot style of songwriting, the results of which have, through familiarity and osmosis, cleansed Gallagher of accusations of being, let’s say, overtly influenced by them? 

While only a closed mind would deny that several of his Oasis songs are certifiable pop-rock classics, John Lydon’s famous squint-eyed query of “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” has always seemed apt when it comes to Gallagher’s creative reach. Similarly, his post-Oasis band (which released their self-titled debut album in 2011) have rarely convinced. 

The nominal positives include meandering shifts in style, from Riverman’s bucolic psychedelia and Ballad of the Might I’s nascent disco rhythms to Black Star Dancing’s much more pronounced if characterless direction towards the dancefloor. But it is, ultimately, featureless, and two new songs (We’re on Our Way Now and Flying on the Ground) add extremely little to the impression of Noel Gallagher as a titan of songwriting. 

As for the teaser of “Vol 1” – that’s a joke, right?