Liam Gallagher and John Squire – A generous one star for this musical marriage forged in hell

The debut album from the Mancunian ‘super duo’ is an excruciating exercise in bluster and swagger

Liam Gallagher John Squire
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Artist: Liam Gallagher and John Squire
Genre: Rock
Label: Warner Music

“Who are The Stone Roses?” an article on the Manchester United website asks on the occasion of the launch of a Manchester United x Adidas x Stone Roses collection, where John Squire’s iconic Jackson Pollock-inspired artwork gets festooned on soccer gear and other merchandise.

The sold-out jersey and reversible jacket are actually rather nice, but a bucket hat and a fairly bland scarf retail for an eye-watering amount. You could be forgiven for wondering if it’s money for old rope.

The same might go for Liam Gallagher and John Squire, who seem to want to give the somewhat unlikely current combination of Rod Stewart and Jools Holland a run for its moolah. The former pair were members of the defining Manchester guitar groups of their eras, in the late 1980s and mid-1990s, and both acts released debut albums that changed the face of modern music. Neither managed to match those early achievements.

This heavyweight pairing isn’t actually particularly surprising after all. Gallagher has waxed lyrical about the Roses over the years, crediting them as inspiring him to join a band. Before his road-to-Damascus moment at a Roses show in Manchester, Gallagher had little or no interest in music, regarding his brother Noel’s obsession with playing the guitar to be a pursuit for “weirdos”.


The eponymous debut album by this so-called super duo is a tough listen. It is sporadically entertaining as a piece of musical comedy – the bluster and swagger of it all are staggering. Squire squeezes out a succession of horrendously bloated riffs. Once upon a time his primary influences included The Byrds and psychedelia. Now he can sound like a pound-shop Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page. Gallagher spouts gibberish about chasing rainbows and wanting to get from Mars to Liverpool. One track is actually called Make It Up as You Go Along.

The whole thing plods on incessantly and somehow manages to make Ocean Colour Scene almost sound like Sunn O))). Gallagher has likened his brother’s solo output to Ronan Keating’s, but he’s not exactly pushing the envelope himself here.

The world has suffered enough. Noel Gallagher probably won’t discover a cure for cancer or broker peace in the Middle East, but one phone call might be able to save the world from another instalment of spectacularly bad music, especially considering the Roses horse has well and truly run. To quote Morrissey, another larger-than-life Mancunian, oh Manchester, so much to answer for.

Éamon Sweeney

Éamon Sweeney, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about music and culture