Album Review: Liam Gallagher – ‘As You Were’
Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher claims to be the last of a dying breed: the true rock star. No one needs to be reminded of Oasis’ well-documented tumultuous past, but they do need to hear Gallagher’s first solo collection of tunes, as he prepares another onslaught on rock n’ roll.
Gallagher is not one to start with a whimper, and As You Were begins in predictable style.
Opener ‘Wall of Glass’ is just as harsh and in-your-face as you’d expect, with its thrashing guitars, drums and harmonica contrasting with almost relaxed vocals.
Comparisons with Oasis hits are inevitable when scrutinising Gallagher’s solo work, and for good reason. The lyrics “I don’t give a fuck, alright” appear in ‘Greedy Soul’, along with a driving drum rhythm and intense rhythm guitar strumming. Hello, Oasis.
There are also plenty of subdued moments on the record, as evidenced by ‘Bold’ and ‘Paper Crown’. The former is reminiscent of Oasis’ ‘Stand by Me’, while the latter is a nod to Gallagher’s idols The Beatles. Its lyrics are typically harsh, but the song is rich with sweet harmonies backed by the warmth of piano chords.
‘For What It’s Worth’ sees Gallagher pour his heart out over acoustic guitars and relaxed drums. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry for the hurt, I’ll be the first to say I’ve made my own mistakes,” he croons on the melancholic ballad.
Gallagher is back to his rock star best on ‘I Get By’, crying out “I never hold back from the truth”.
‘Chinatown’ is a complete departure in style, with its soft, acoustic guitar picking and echoing vocals. It’s the highlight of the album, showcasing Gallagher’s ability to change his sound and appeal to wider audiences at a point in his career when he doesn’t really have to.
Gallagher rounds out his first major solo venture with ‘I’ve All I Need’, a relaxed return to more traditional rock ‘n roll and another tribute the Beatles featuring the words “tomorrow never knows” (a song of the same name appeared on the Fab Four’s 1966 album Revolver).
As You Were introduces us to a layered, multi-dimensional artist who is keen to be recognised for his solo efforts, not just his antics in Oasis’ heady heyday. It’s a diverse album, with thrashing rock tunes sitting side-by-side with heartfelt ballads and even a hint of country on ‘You Better Run’.
The album comes a month and a half before Liam’s brother Noel and his band High Flying Birds unleash their latest album, and this solid effort from the youngest Gallagher brother should ensure the infamous ‘Wibbling Rivalry’ continues.