Liam Gallagher: As You Were

- Liam Gallagher is (surprisingly) living proof that you don’t have to die at twenty-seven to be the quintessential rockstar. This rockstar persona, somewhat shared by his older and more pensive brother Noel, was always inextricable from the music of Oasis. The swagger of Oasis songs like Roll With It and D’You Know What I Mean? were always informed by the braggadocio and trademark walk of a parka-clad Liam Gallagher. Everyone wants to be Liam Gallagher, sitting in that armchair in the Wonderwall music video. All the headlines about, music of, films featuring, and interviews with, Liam Gallagher since 1993 all engender his first solo album As You Were with a profundity that its simplistic safeness perhaps doesn’t deserve.

Although it might be nineteen years since Liam became the coolest person to ever appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court for headbutting someone, much of As You Were amounts to good old fashioned rock and roll, a dish with which Liam’s nasal voice is best served. Liam’s voice and fuzz guitar go together like anti-abortion leaflets and paper shredders. There is a pugnacious edge to songs like the popular lead single Wall of GlassGreedy Soul, which most recalls Liam’s Oasis straightforward rock, and You Better Run. However, songs like the loved-up When I’m In Need, the warm and psychedelic Chinatown and the mega-ballad For What It’s Worth demonstrate the mature, reflective side of señor Gallagher.

Beady Eye, Liam’s post-Oasis band, was much akin to shacking up with Gretel Killeen after Natalie Imbruglia breaks up with you. Beady Eye’s highest charting single, The Roller, peaked at thirty-one (a far cry from the late '90s when Oasis were the biggest band in the world [if you don’t include Africa, India, China, the Americas and the Middle East]). With As You Were, Liam is unashamedly intent on BBC Radio 1 airplay. Greg Kurstin’s production is slick, clean, and colourful. The instrumentation is a trifle pedestrian and the handclaps are everywhere.

However, the album contains some of Liam’s most accomplished songwriting to date, with a little help from his friends of course. The songs are consistent and are thematically and musically cohesive. This is an album about learning from mistakes, running your own race, and appreciating what you have and don’t need. Liam certainly has come a long way since his first outing as a songwriter, Little James (“you live for your toys, even though they make noise”), which hospitalised many Oasis fans with vomiting fits. For What It’s Worth is the 2017 incarnation of Sinatra’s My Way, a monolithic anthem that will no doubt comfort blokes who have unsuccessfully tried to steal a mate’s girlfriend, been battered in a fistfight with a brother-in-law or lost their life savings in an ill-fated start-up company that inadvertently did the same thing as at least 50 other start-up companies.

Beady Eye was the 2009 incarnation of Oasis, sans Noel Gallagher. Thus, what As You Were embodies is Liam finally breaking from the shackles of Oasis and embarking on an entirely new creative direction. The first two singles Wall of Glass and Chinatown sound nothing like anything Liam has ever previously released, Universal Gleam sounds like Spiritualized ft. Liam Gallagher and I’ve All I Need sounds like (dare I say it [omg I’m actually saying it]) Coldplay ft. Liam Gallagher. Unfortunately, You Better Run sounds like an Oasis covers band.

A palatable and surprisingly inoffensive record, but nonetheless enjoyable. The great drawcard of this album is, however, the authenticity of its themes which the well-documented persona of Liam Gallagher lends gravitas to. We believe he is sorry for his mistakes. We believe he doesn’t care what you think. Or maybe this really is just a pop/rock record for BBC Radio 1 and the charts. Despite the glossy production and generous handclapping, this is at least a document of the last rockstar standing.

- Harry Rival Lee.

 

Album Details

Album Title: As You Were
Artist: Liam Gallagher
Record Label: (Warner)