Does anyone want or need a Liam Gallagher solo album? After three increasingly reductant records with the post-Oasis Beady Eye, it has lately seemed that all the younger Gallagher has been good for is waging feuds — not least with elder sibling Noel.
But with Noel sensibly shrugging off the insults and proving there is life after Oasis with his High Flying Birds project, Liam has come worryingly close to laddish self parody. Even the biggest Oasis fans will have worried that his first solo LP would be more of the same — all mouth, with little in the way of tunes.
Actually, it’s quite the opposite. With new manager/ girlfriend Debbie Gwyther now overseeing his career 45-year-old Liam has taken stock and retreated from that familiar strutting caricature.
Always at his best alongside Noel, he has also wisely opened the door to new collaborations in the form of Adele producer Greg Kurstin (last seen helming the new Foo Fighters record) and Andrew Wyatt of Miike Snow.
The results are a revelation. Liam had already given a hint at his brisker new direction with the excellent single ‘Chinatown’ — a middle aged updating of Oasis’s ‘Live Forever’ with admittedly terrible lyrics but a wonderful, slightly off-kilter chorus.
But that’s a mere taster, with ‘Wall of Glass’ evoking the majestic strut of prime Oasis (who, let us be honest, haven’t put out a half decent long player since 1997) and the mea culpa laced ‘Bold’ laying bare the vulnerability behind the megawatt ego.
Liam has credited his artistic rebirth with a sojourn in his spiritual home of Mayo (from whence his family originated). But this is no mere pub singalong on a bigger budget. As You Were is crafted, poised and crammed with tunes. In the post-Oasis battle of the siblings, Noel has been the clear winner. With this new record, Liam shows us their rivalry may not be over just yet.