If there was an award for ‘The Unarguably and Nailed-On-Certain Biggest, Most Memorable Songwriter of The 1990s’, it would go to Noel Gallagher. If anyone’s disagreeing with that statement, nay fact, the first three Oasis albums and the Britpop legend’s forays with The Chemical Brothers will prove them undeniably wrong. So the dip in musical quality over the second decade of Oasis’s career was an almost physical pain to the fans who had to endure it. It’s well acknowledged that aside from a few cracking singles and their reliably exhilarating stadium shows, their albums stopped being much cop.
The rise of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, then, since the guitarist ditched the most monolithic band in the world, has been a fiercely welcome one. Counter to the Oasis trajectory, with each release the ever-changing troupe have grown more and more compelling, previous album ‘Who Built The Moon?’ their most experimental yet. This whistlestop recap brings up slap-up-to-date with new single ‘Easy Now’:
Hearing the elder Gallagher brother speak in out of context interviews, you might suspect him of being the musical equivalent of Jeremy Clarkson, but the personality that shines through in this softer side of his songwriting, as opposed to his roving but tethered version of psychedelia, exposes a warm, encouraging soul eager to deliver messages of pure hope. There’s no reason to dissect the song’s sound other than commenting on it being a heart-stoppingly orchestral beauty of a tune, finding the frontman’s voice teetering on the right side of sentimental, casting a heap of uplifting lyrics seeing Gallagher singing to his younger Burnage-bound self and all who battled through it with him, generously offering “I stop to say a prayer/ For everybody there/ Your destination comes without a fare” like some cosmic, dream-granting, taxi driver genie.
As an introduction to his newly announced album ‘Council Skies’ (the album titled taken from artist Pete McKee’s book of the same name), along with recent Johnny Marr boosted single ‘Pretty Boy’, ‘Easy Now’ exhibits Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds carrying further on their upward trajectory by taking a break from David Holmes inspired experimentalism and sharpening up those simple songwriting smarts again, coming through with a feather-light hearted indie melody of a song. It also bears more than a passing resemblance to NGHFB’s past glory ‘The Dying Of The Light’. When you were the greatest songwriter of the 90s, who better to borrow tunes from than yourself?
‘Council Skies’ is due to be released on 2nd June through Gallagher’s own Sour Mash Records. The track listing is below:
1) I’m Not Giving Up Tonight
2) Pretty Boy
3) Dead To The World
4) Open The Door, See What You Find
5) Trying To Find A World That’s Been And Gone
6) Easy Now
7) Council Skies
8) There She Blows!
9) Love Is A Rich Man
10) Think Of A Number
11) Bonus Track – We’re Gonna Get There In The End
‘Easy Now’ was released on 17th January 2023 and is available to listen to on all streaming platforms as we speak. It also has a video featuring the excellent ‘House of the Dragon’ actor Milly Alcock that you can view below: