An intimate and slightly melancholic Noel Gallagher, but never sad

An intimate and slightly melancholic Noel Gallagher, but never sad

Short summary. August 28, 2009 Noel Gallagher officially leaves him Oasisjust over a couple of years later, in October 2011, he released his first album together with High Flying Birds titled “Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds” (read the review here). Thirteen years later we reach the present day and the High Flying Birds they're still Noel's group. In the meantime they have released three more studio albums, the last of these, “Council skies”was released on June 2, 2023, one year ago.

Below you can read our review of the album which Noel presented in the press release as follows: “I'm going back to my origins. Daydreaming, rolling my eyes and wondering what life could be. this is as true for me today as it was in the early 90s. When I was growing up in poverty and unemployment, music saved me… a bit like “Top of the Pops” on TV did on Thursday nights, you were immersed in a fantasy world. That's what I think music should do. I want my music to uplift and help in some way.”

After Oasis, Noel Gallagher's solo career had a more linear progression than his brother Liam, who only started using his name in 2017 after founding Beady Eye.
Noel reclaimed the songs he had written with the band, on the one hand taking advantage of the advantage of being the author, and on the other paying for the fact of not being the frontman. But he has built a solid path for himself and this new album reaffirms his role: Liam, as a soloist, has done good things, but “Council skies” is one of the best post-Oasis releases of the two, if not the best.

The reason is quite simple: this is the least solo album of his career, the most “live in the studio”, the one in which the High Flying Birds are truly a band and in which there is a sound that enhances the writing. Noel put aside the “weird” arrangements of “Who built the moon” and went back to what he does best: classic songs, a bit retro, with lots of guitars and some vintage touches.

You can start from the almost Beatles-like horns of “We're Gonna Get There In The End” (which is much more than a bonus track) and those of “Love is a Rich man” to get to the Smiths quotes of “Council Skies” and “Think of a number (Johnny Marr plays on several songs), and those Cure's “Pretty boy” (which was also remixed by Robert Smith). Honorable mention to the string ballad “Trying to find a way” : It would have been a great song with Oasis too, and it's a great song here.

All the songs on the album were written in lockdown, Noel told us. But it's not a lockdown album: there's an intimate and slightly melancholic atmosphere, but never sad. A mood that “Easy now” represents perfectly: a melody that sticks to you immediately, but which then opens into a liberating refrain.

“Council skies” is a small manual for writing and arranging pop rock songs. To complete this pleasant nostalgia we only need a Blur album… Ah, yes: that will come too. Every now and then it's nice to go back to the 90s.