- Beady Eye
- Different Gear, Still Speeding
Dear Mr. B:
I was wondering: how are you coping with the Gallagher brothers’ breakup?
Also, I wanted to thank you for the guidance and wisdom you’ve shared with us all over the years. There’ll truly be a place for you in Heaven.
Appreciative in Appalachia
Boy, it’s a good thing the mail just arrived, because I was sitting here thinking, “What is this bonehead talking about? The stand-up comic Gallagher who does the Sledge-O-Matic thing where he beats the snot out of watermelons has a brother? And they’re on the outs? And you’re wondering how I’m coping with it?”
But then the brand-new album by Beady Eye showed up in the mail, with accompanying info that touted it as the debut effort by a band led by Liam Gallagher, formerly the lead singer of Oasis. That’s when I began to understand what you were talking about, which led me to ask a new set of questions: “Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis are on the outs? And you’re wondering how I’m coping with it?”
Now, don’t get your official Oasis Union Jack-festooned underoos in a bunch, Appreciative. My lack of pathos for the Gallagher brothers has nothing to do with a dislike of Oasis – I’ve just never paid any attention them. Yep – ‘tis true. If you dug around in the musical library here, you’ll find no Oasis albums tucked away. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to name an Oasis song, even … except for “Champagne Supernova”, which I only happen to know because Assembly of Dust did a wicked neat live cover of it back in ’07 on their Freedom of Assembly EP that accompanied my copy of Recollections. (Check it out, by the way.)
Oh – and I saw a YouTube once of Noel Gallagher sitting in with The Who on “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. Does that count?
Anyway – here’s the point to all this, Appreciative: I don’t have a living ounce of pre-conceived notion about either one of the Gallagher lads or the true value of Oasis’ music in the scope of musical history (apart from near-stupid numbers of records sold). So what I’m about to tell you concerning the new Beady Eye album Different Gear, Still Speeding is based solely on what’s coming out of the speakers here in the cabin as I write this.
What we have here, my friend, is a 13-song, 51-minute-and-42-second-long bundle of trippy, groovy, skipping-along-the-banks-of-the-River-Mersey-with-your-collar-turned-up-and-a-head-full-of-something-good rock and roll.
Is it revolutionary? No.
Will it change the world? No.
If you play it backwards, will you discover a secret message from Beady Eye leader Liam Gallagher to his estranged brother Noel? I couldn’t tell you – although in the interest of brotherly love in general, I hope the lads can patch it up at some point.
However, is it fun? Oh, yes. That it is.
It so happens that Liam Gallagher’s mates in Beady Eye (stringbenders Gem Archer and Andy Bell, along with drummer Chris Sharrock) were also his teammates in his last band. I suppose that makes Beady Eye basically Oasis Minus A Brother, but let’s forget all that for right now and just talk about the tunes.
As an exercise in deviating from the music journalistic mainstream, I’m going to try to give you a run-down on Different Gear, Still Speeding without a Beatles reference, Appreciative. Or comparing something to late-60s Stones. That’s going to be tough, too: I’d estimate that at least 73% (at least) of the reviews of this album will speak of the “Instant Karma” vibe that runs through “The Roller” or the fact that the album-closing “The Morning Son” could have been a lost track off All Things Must Pass (with George’s buddy John sitting in). Slightly fewer (but still hovering around the 56% mark) will no doubt say that the punch and pow of “Four Letter Word” sounds like the theme song to a James Bond movie that Mr. McCartney never made. And I’d be willing to wager that approximately 21% of reviewers will compare “Wind Up Dream” to “Gimme Shelter” – all thumpa-thumpa rhythm weaves, Jaggerish blues harp, and even an occasional bone-dry ticka-ticka-ticka from a guira (you know, that wood block thing that sounds like someone running a stick along a set of vertebrae). Heck, even Beady Eye themselves named one of the songs on the album “Beatles And Stones”. I’d give them points just for that.
But, no – forget (try to, anyway) the Fab ghosts and Satanic Majesties that drift through the tunes on Different Gear, Still Speeding. Try to think of it as a time-warp broadcast from a world where the lines between the mod scene and psychedelia are happily blurred and vintage guitars are free to roam, grazing in fields of wild mushrooms. And once you get in the right place, you’ll be able to simply just enjoy tunes like “Bring The Light” for what it is, my friend: rock and roll. Going-to-a-go-go, drum-thumping, piano-pounding rock and roll with bits of sweet old guitar snarls and a joyfully-numb refrain (“Baby come on!”) that beats its way right into your frontal lobes and makes your feet and ass twitch.
So to answer your question, Appreciative, I hadn’t been tracking on the Gallagher family upheaval, so I can’t help you there.
But this Beady Eye thing? Crank it up. And don’t expect any enlightenment – just dance.
Your old pal,