Different Gear, Still Speeding

by Beady Eye

So then, Oasis is dead. Well, sort of. With Noel Gallagher taking about as much as he possibly could from bro Liam, he left the band. Instead of just carrying on, Liam and fellow Oasis members Andy Bell and Gem Archer decided to form Beady Eye.

boom - Beady Eye Different Gear Still Speeding album image

Clearly with Noelís departure, the band has decided for Beady Eye to not just be Oasis MK II. Instead, with this debut album at least, theyíve explored other sounds. Perhaps explored isnít quite the right word, as itís not an album of World Music say, but even with Liamís vocals, itís fair to say that it doesnít feel like an Oasis album. At least every other song doesnít.

Thereís no doubt that opener ĎFour Letter Wordí certainly wouldnít look out of place on an Oasis album. Itís a loud, brash affair, with horns and guitars whipping up a frenzy. Itís got a great sense of urgency about it, with bags of energy to boot. Liam also sounds as if heís in Oasis mood, which is no bad thing.

It certainly changes gear with the next track ĎMillionaireí. Suddenly, Liamís vocals sound like theyíve been piped through a conditioning machine making them lusciously soft. The problem is, it doesnít really sound like our Liam. It sounds like a castrated Liam, which takes some getting used to. The song itself, despite some nice jangly guitars, is also on the soft side, like a watered down Tom Petty number.

ĎThe Rollerí is Liam doing his Beatles thing. The fact is heíll never get it out of his system, so itís only to be expected. Itís a pleasant little ditty. Nothing more, nothing less.

The tempo gets pushed a little harder with ĎBeatles and Stonesí, which is more of a name check than a direct comparison musically with either of those bands. Itís a train of a tune that has no plans in stopping before its final destination, chugging along as it does.

Itís about this point in proceedings where Liamís vocal start to sound, well, quite un-liam like. Thereís definitely a harshness thatís been taken out, which is a shame. Still, with itís up tempo country vibe and nice line in harmonica-ering, ĎWind Up Dreamí is pleasantly perky.

Itís all aboard the chugging Beady Eye train again with ĎBring the Lightí, a definite album highlight. A piano drives this beast of a track, and this time, it has no intentions of stopping at all. Itís like a ride at Alton Towers that you never want to end.

Itís softly softly with ĎFor Anyoneí, which is just a bit too sappy. Thereís definitely a tambourine or two in there, and that just wonít do at all.

Mellow. Thatís ĎKill For a Dreamí. Itís a gentle ballad with a prominent guitar riff. Donít be surprised if you see one or two lighters reach for the sky when itís played live.

And the closest thing to an all Ėout rock song is ĎStanding on the Edge of Noiseí. Despite its nice title, thereís a touch of Status Quo about it, which is good or bad depending on how you feel about the Quo really.

For those who suffer from insomnia never fear, as ĎWigwamí may well be the cure youíve been looking for. Not only does it go on a bit with its obvious pretentions of epicness, itís as beige as can be.

Liam has his John Lennon head on for ĎThree Ring Circusí; yes itís Beatle-esque, but at least itís catchy and just more than a little bit bouncy with it.

The Beatles influences carries over into ĎThe Beat Goes Oní, during their hippy drippy phase, making this effort all too hippy and indeed drippy. And yes it does go on. And on.

The last track is ĎThe Morning Soní. Again it has more than a hint of the Fab Four about it, and is the second track to come in at the 6 minute plus mark. Itís also about 3 minutes too long.

Although itís usually commendable to buy an album thatís over the 45-minute mark Ė after all, everyone likes to feel that theyíre getting value for money Ė this debut could really have benefitted from being a lot tighter. It ambles far too often in places, making it appear on the self-indulgent side.

Itís easy to imagine die-hard Oasis fans lapping it up, as itís about as close to being Oasis without actually being Oasis. In that sense Liamís let the side down a bit; this was his moment to shine and put himself right out there, but sadly thereís nothing exceptional on display here. It has nothing up its sleeves and does little to surprise in any way. The most positive thing to say about it is that itís competent.

Certainly on this form, Beady Eye feels like nothing more than a stop gap until the inevitable Oasis reunion. Things could change if Liam and the gang decide to grow a pair for the next album, by really pushing themselves. In the meantime, why not listen to some Mancunian muzak...

three out of five