Record Collection: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – ‘Chasing Yesterday’ (2015)

This is the first of the 2015 albums I bought that I thought deserved a bit of love. I will be giving some love to some more beauties later.

Chasing Yesterday

These days it is not cool to like Oasis and in extension the Gallagher brothers, but I luckily never was one for caring about being cool. I am happy to admit that Oasis was one of the first bands I really loved.  I remember buying ‘Definitely Maybe’ and just playing it over and over again. I simply loved it. Its sound was completely new to me as a fifteen-year-old. The love stuck throughout the ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory’ era, but faded when their follow-up albums just lost that special something. Though I have little interest in the younger brother (after all he didn’t write any of the good songs), I was glad when Noel decided to do his own thing.

I have heard plenty of criticism of Noel’s songwriting in the past. The ‘they are just copying the Beatles,etc’. But whenever I hear that I remember hearing Noel in an interview back in the day. He responded to the criticism by asking ‘If it’s so easy, why isn’t everyone else doing it?’, which was a fair point, as it was making him shed loads of cash.

I liked his first HFB album a lot. There are some really good songs on there and already showed that he had rekindled his love for music and songwriting. But with self-produced Chasing Yesterday he has proved that he can still move forward and is still perfecting his craft.

My opinion:

I really love this album. For me, it’s easily on par with everything Noel Gallagher did with Oasis. It was the first album of 2015 I really looked forward to (out in February) and it did not disappoint me. In fact, I am incredibly impressed with this album, mainly because it’s great to see that someone who has been around for so long and is, let’s face it, getting on a bit, can still improve as a songwriter. I think it is especially the lyrics that have improved. Yes, the rhyming dictionary is still there, but there appears to be a depth to the words that there hardly ever was in his Oasis days. It feels like he has finally come of age. About time too.

It’s rare that I have something to say about every song on an album, but because this is an album that both me and my husband like a lot we have played it an awful lot, so all the songs have started to have their own life in a way.

The album starts with ‘Riverman’ a highlight for me with it’s lovely almost soothing guitarwork and then the lovely sound of the saxophone. ‘In The Heat Of The Moment’ is a song I took a little while to warm to and I still much prefer the Toy Drum Mix, which comes as a bonus track and misses out the slightly annoying na na na na nas. There’s a bit of an echo of Bowie in ‘The Girl With X-Ray Eyes’ and it reminds me a bit too much of the old Oasis B-sides, but is a pleasant song.

‘Lock All The Doors’ I believe is one the oldest songs on the album, written during early Oasis times and it sounds like it too. You can imagine how great it would have been sung by Liam (early on when he still had a decent voice). Nevertheless, I love this song, it’s got great energy and the chorus just makes you want to shout along, which is exactly what a great Gallagher tune does. ‘The Dying Of The Light’ is a gorgeous tune that just invites me to relax and close my eyes. It’s bloody lovely! In between that and ‘While The Song Remains The Same’ sits ‘The Right Stuff’, which is a song I needed some time to get used to, but actually ended up being one of my favourites on the album. I would be happy if Gallagher decided to pursue that type of sound for a whole album.

The backend of the album remains strong with the to my ears slightly dirty sounding ‘The Mexican’ (It’s not the words that make it dirty, it’s the riff I think. It is hard to explain – more a feeling than anything.) and ‘You Know We Can’t Go Back’ in which I strangely love the drumming in particular.  Chasing Yesterday finishes with ‘The Ballad Of The Mighty I’, another highlight. With handy guitarwork from Johnny Marr and a great beat, it’s a wonderful track that shows a glimpse of Gallagher’s love for dance music.

So bookended by two great tracks with plenty to enjoy inbetween this is an album I have really enjoyed this year. Of course the fact that my husband loves it as well means we simply played it a lot!

I am looking forward to the next one!

One word to describe this record: Solid

Play it when… Relaxing, driving, working… any time really

Songs you need to hear: The Dying Of The Light, The Right Stuff, Lock All The Doors, Riverman

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