What does it sound like?:
When a new album bearing the name “Gallagher” arrives, there are usually 4 stock questions:
1. Does it sound like it always sounds?
2. Are the lyrics peppered with bad or contrived rhymes?
3. Is it derivative / a slight knock-off of other peoples work?
4. Does it break any new ground, or in anyway a departure from the expected?
And the answers, unsurprisingly, are: Yes, Yes, Yes and No
The full title of this album could/should be: ‘Why Me? Why Not? What More Did You Expect?’
But this is not a bad thing – it is comfortable, easy to access, and rewards quite quickly. The only fear is that the “reward” may not last and this will soon be consigned to the “might play again if I stumble across it” pile.
There are many people in this world who perceive Liam Gallagher as “that insufferable knob that used to sing in Oasis”. And, to be honest, his latest advert on Amazon hardly helps his case.
But I maintain he has one of the greatest rock voices of the past few years (well, 25 since the release of Oasis’s ‘Definitely Maybe’).
Just the right combination of sneer, strain, over-diction and emotion – combined together, in my ears, that gives a level of honesty and believability about his performances. You get the feeling he still can’t believe the position he is in, and wants to make each performance, and every syllable, count.
Unfortunately, I think his voice was ill served by his previous sols album (2017s ‘As You Were’) with only “For What It’s Worth” really showcasing his vocal abilities (yes, I think he does have some vocal ability). The rest of that album seemed to be a sanitised version of what it could’ve been, and seemed to be attempting to send him towards the edgier end of Radio 2 listening – and why not, Warners obviously wanted a return on their investment.
‘Why Me? Why Not?’ is his second solo album, and is a step up from the previous 2 Beady albums (which just seemed to be treading water with the odd highlight moment) and the first solo album.
The trademark voice is more apparent, the band sound is fuller and less produced, and the songs feel better written and arranged
(there are moments when (devillishly) you would say they’re almost Noel-esque).
The album opens in fine stompng style with the Glam Rock/Slade-esque “Shockwave”, and the 70s stomp, udeated obviously for current days, pervadses much of the album’s 11 tracks.
He even gets a bit reflective, almost offering an olive branch of acceptance to his older sibling on “One of Us” – the prime “Liam voice” track here, and “Once” continues the reflection. almost to a sign-off of finally putting the rumours of Oasis reunions off the agenda.
So a strong start, and whilst the rest of the album does not perhaps hit these same heights, there is nothing with a whiff of filler, and nothing that is sub-standard.
Liam’s Lennon-fixation remains, but on a couple of tracks (perhaps most notably “Alright Now”, and also on the psychedelic-y “The Meadow”) there’s a bit of Paul McCartney melody creeping in, with a touch of a George Harrison guitar soloing to cap it off.
And another influence turned real for this album is The Stone Roses, most noticeable on the bonus track “Invisible Sun” (which surely is a contender for the real album (rather than a bonus) possibly replacing “Halo” (which is probably the weakest track here).
Despite the minor quibble of track choices (and I’m not going to argue with Liam – would you?), this album has enough to want to repeatedly listen.
What does it all *mean*?
Whatever you might think of him, I reckon he has the finest set of pipes this side of Britpop, especially when the material is up to scratch. And with this album, he has finally got some decent material to get his chops in to.
Job’s a good ‘un – top stuff our kid!
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
Oasis, Britpop, Beatles, Stones, Slade, Stone Roses
(basically, all the usual suspects)