Liam Gallagher – As You Were Review


Apparently, Liam Gallagher isn’t just someone who swears a lot on Twitter, has a cult following of ‘lads’ who call him an absolute legend for his ballsy retorts, or someone who is the “voice of reason” when it comes to Brexit. No, no, no. Liam Gallagher used to be in a small band called Oasis with his brother Noel until that all dissolved away in 2009. A couple of years and a fairly mediocre attempt at a band revival in the form of Beady Eye later, and Liam is back with his very first debut album As You Were.

With the aid of Greg Kurstin – who can be accredited with songs by the likes of Sia, Adele and Pink – the standard album boasts twelve tracks with gruff vocals and no-nonsense instrumentalism in equal measure. Opening with the glorious single Wall Of Glass, we are built up for an album of some intense ferocity; it’s filled to the brim with call backs to the Britpop heyday as guitars wail from all directions, almost masking Liam’s raspy vocals when the chorus hits. If you’re a fan of this one, Come Back To Me is very similar, heaving with strong guitars and riffs galore. Kurstin’s handy work with lyrics is prevalent from the get-go. Although, Liam penned songs like Greedy Soul, Bold and You Better Run himself – and the terse Greedy Soul especially is an album highlight.

While much of the track list is teeming with a brashness and noise, some songs take a step back. For What It’s Worth tows the line in between acceptance and apology, while overflowing with Beatles-esque balladry. Opening lyrics “In my defence, all my intentions were good”, and chorus lyrics “I’ll be the first to say I made my own mistakes” seem reflective and, well, just a bit sad. Paper Crown is, too, quiet and contemplative, with mournful vocals gliding over downbeat percussion. Album closer I’ve All I Need also sticks to the slow lane, but is quite hopeful in its lyricism, and develops throughout to make it a modern interpretation of old school Oasis moodiness when it comes to its closing chords. Whereas if you have the deluxe version, you’ll find that All My People/All Mankind is just moody. And that I Never Wanna Be Like You is just plain weird.

When I heard Liam Gallagher was releasing a solo album, I didn’t really know what to think. I liked Oasis, I’ve dipped my toe into Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds albums, but after the blunt flop of Beady Eye I didn’t know how As You Were would fair. Turns out, it’s actually pretty good. Whether that’s because it recalls a lot of late Oasis tracks, or it’s kind of impossible not to be compelled by Liam Gallagher and his cultural presence right now it’s hard to say, but yeah, I like it.

Liam Gallagher – As You Were: 8/10

Ellie Chivers

Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold Review

It has been two years since one of the worlds biggest bands released their last set of material with their St. Cecilia EP in 2015 and another year since their last album Sonic Highways from 2014. When they released the first single from Concrete and Gold; ‘Run’ took some people by surprise and since then a steady steam of material and details have emerged from upcoming ninth studio album. Most notably is Greg Kurstin as producer. In recent years he’s worked with Adele, Sia and Ellie Goulding. Despite having little to no experience recording Rock music prior to Dave Grohl seeking him out, he described him as “a fucking genius” and the key to unlocking a larger Foo Fighters sound. Greg has now worked with The Shins and Liam Gallagher. Given how Sonic Highways proved a better documentary series than an album, the band wanted to come back strong with a proper album crammed full of ideas and influences.

Echoed, ringing riffs open ‘Run’ before a pacing percussion signals the start of a rabid and snarling piece of hard rock. From Dave Grohl’s screeches to the wiry lead riffs ahead of the grinding rhythms, the song kicks and screams and kicks hard. In an instant, they have the ability to turn melodic with echoed harmonies, backing vocals and Dave’s typically easy tunefulness. It is not going to be the best track you’ll hear this year, but the Foo Fighters have typically delivered a high octane track with added aggression whilst retaining the ability for melody amongst the heavy sounds. ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ has a different sound to it, an essence of composed and considered music that is given away with the Beatle-esque harmonies that open and signpost the track. The song is restrained, whilst still packing a punch within it’s steady confines with grinding riffs driving the chorus and strung out pieces in the verses. It is within this space that you get a greater feel for Dave Grohl’s songwriting. In this case ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ ponders all the life out there in space and how “we have to get our shit together” on earth “to survive this universe full of life” ‘The Line’ is the group plying their anthemic sound with this sing-a-long track; a matured ‘Times Like These’ if you will. It continues the trend along with the other singles as each offers up a subtle change in sound and delivery. The latest single opens with spread riffs echoing into the background with Grohl’s hushed tones before bursting into light with a steady, but full six piece arrangment of clear, distorted and lead guitar parts entwined with a charged bass and siren-like keys. As ever, Taylor Hawkins holds his own behind the drum kit to back up the fuller sound the band now deliver. 

‘Arrows’ is a track that rings out into the open space the instrumentation generates via a more distant recorded sound. Though it is still a typical piece of Hard Rock, it is less immediate in nature and this gives lisence for Dave’s vocals to be recorded in a whirring fashion to fade back into the instrumentation. An example of the difference created from small production changes. The title track is an intruiging one. It hints at an Industrial sound with grinding and dragging guitars with the distorted, gentle vocals. This is set up to calmly open up into a lighter sound of harmonious backing vocals and more open riffs. These steep changes in tone are something that they accentuate as the song goes on. A nice shift in tone and great way to close the album. ‘La Dee Da’ has verses of swagger and shuffling progression that meets with a screeching chorus. Tracks like ‘Dirty Water’ are reminiscent of Greg Kurstin’s The Bird and the Bee with their breezy melodies and light harmonies. The track then bursts into a driving piece of distorted electronica and guitar. Both sound good in isolation but prove to be an unrecognisable pair in the same track. That sums up this album. All of the ideas for the album provide results, but these emerge in the wrong places or only for fleeting moments. When paired an ever confident delivery and with the strong set of singles you have a good album, yet you know that the Foo Fighters are capable of making a great album again; they’ve just got to get their ideas in order. 

Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold = 7/10

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Liam Gallagher – Chinatown

The latest single from Liam Gallagher’s debut solo album, ‘As You Were’ October the 6th, which is to feature tracks produced by Greg Kurstin (Adele, Beck, The Shins, Kendrick Lamar) and Dan Grech-Marguerat (Radiohead, Cira Waves, Mumford and Sons) might just reveal a softer side to the much loved, and abhorred, Mancunian. ‘Chinatown’ see’s Liam’s, casually iconic, grating vocal wind, almost delicately… almost, around simply plucked acoustic guitar, steady heavy footed rhythm and of course a familiar helping of John Lennon references, present in both the tracks lyrics and a spacious helping of reverb. Compared to first single ‘Wall Of Glass’ things are a little more muted here, not only within the acoustic, rather than shredded, guitar lines but also Liam’s sneering barbs. Though a humorously sharp tongue is still in play within Liam’s second offering: ‘Well the cops are taking over while everyone’s in yoga cause happiness is still a warm gun’ overall ‘Chinatown’ is a more tender track with a gentle melody that plainly states why this particular Gallagher’s ability shouldn’t be underestimated.  

Hayley Miller 

Single Review – Liam Gallagher – Wall of Glass

It is safe to say that in the immediate aftermath of Oasis, Noel had the most immediate success and gave the impression that it was Liam who needed Oasis and needed Noel. The second and subsequently last Beady Eye album from 2013 was by no means a bad effort however and Noel hardly set the world alight with his second solo effort Chasing Yesterday. For his first solo effort, Liam has enlisted the expertise of Greg Kurstin who has worked with everyone from The Shins, Beck, Tegan & Sara, Kendrick Lamar to Adele. Though primarily a producer, Liam has also had Greg in as a co-writer for his new single ‘Wall of Glass’. To my surprise, this track sees Liam shake off the relative obscurity of the last few years and find his quality again. Greg has set Liam in a familiar setting of shredding and ringing guitars, but adds sharpness, bluesy highlights, professional backing vocalists and a driving beat that feeds a keen sense of rhythm in the song. It is punchy and is tailored to Liam’s swagger. Unlike with Beady Eye, these vocals aren’t left in isolation and so sound as rich as they’ve ever done. The lyrics aren’t anything spectacular, but again they are tailored to Liam’s vocal strengths and his attitude on show. There is even a subtle sense of depth with this track with parts falling away and building to a bold fruition. It isn’t going to be track of the year, but it’s a damn good song which for Liam, was removing the shackles of Oasis and doing what most artists do; bringing in proven success. 

Owen Riddle