'Second Bite Of The Apple': Beady Eye's best track to date?
It's been five years since the Gallagher brothers parted and the news was announced that Oasis were to split. For those not in throwing distance of the two you can only imagine the volatility between the siblings and the constant ego clashes that lead to their eventual break up.
You could say Oasis were my generation's Stone Roses and no one can deny the fact that the cracks in the band we're rapidly becoming craters. I remember seeing an early tour video of the band performing 'Whatever', Liam barely getting half way through the first verse before picking up the tambourine and dropping back from the spotlight following a quip from Noel. But this was normal, it was nothing more than two brothers squabbling, there was a little violence and I’m sure the cocaine didn't help to extinguish any fires but brotherly love was plentiful. Is it still there now? Well, it depends on how much of Liam's interviews with the NME you take at face value or write off as our kid being, well, our kid.
Out of Oasis came two new bands, two very different sounds and two very different directions. Noel, who initially left the band, went on to form Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds leaving Liam and former Oasis guitarists Gem Archer and Andy Bell who would become Beady Eye. To an extent it was very much what you expected, both bands taking their half of Oasis. Noel displaying his faultless ability as a song writer, more a meaningful solo project, almost a concept album and Liam, the front man, very much still the big sound, the Rock n Roll, the jump up, the shout. 'Different Gear, Still Speeding' was an album of Oasis clichés, not necessarily a bad thing, just not a great thing, until now.
It all changed for me on an overcast Friday morning in June on a farm in Somerset. Beady Eye opened Glastonbury's Other stage to a crowd of a thousand or so. The performance was a secret to all those not on Twitter with Liam tweeting “BE there 11am Friday.” The performance was far from life changing and nobody was expecting it to be. Like myself, I think most people had just gone down to see what Liam Gallagher really looks like as a world-renowned front man. However I came away with a new found respect for Beady Eye, I really enjoyed myself and really enjoyed them.
The band opened with 'Flick Of The Finger', the first track on the new album ‘BE’, which features a fantastic brass introduction with trumpet and sax going head to head with percussion. It sets the perfect tone for the album followed by a concrete guitar riff and a solid bass line before cutting into the unmistakable vocals of Liam whose lyrics are more in depth and politically driven this time around. The song ends with a revolutionary call to arms, the voice sample of a freedom fighter/political figure is cast in to bring this energetic opener to a close before leaping into the more toned down 'Soul Love' the second track in the album.
'Soul Love' is confirmation if any was needed of the band's newfound versatility, style and answer to any critics who still want to right them off as Oasis No.2. Liam's vocals are more refined and the band's sound has matured, the album stands up on it's own two feet and is impressive.
Other notable tracks on the album include the acoustic 'Shine A Light' an energetic folk-style of sound with nods to the band's original 60's psychedelic rock n roll sound and their first album 'Different Gear, Still Speeding' for anyone who heard the infectious 'Beatles and Stones' first time round.
'The World's Not Set In Stone' another melodic arrangement of sound and a nod to the band's psychedelic style is another one of my picks of the album's best. It would work well as a great B-side and for me sounds like an old Beatles song, perhaps from the band's more experimental 'Sgt Pepper' era.
If you're after the album's 'stand alone' track or if the pace of modern life has left you with no time to actually sit down and enjoy records anymore, like the girl from the Cornershop 'Brimful Of Asher' video, I would strongly put forward 'Second Bite Of the Apple' as a contender. For me it sums up the band. It's another loud, play everything you can to create a fantastic ballad of noise song. More playful than 'Flick Of The Finger' but with as much kick and that infectious trumpet is back.
The album ends with 'Evil Eye' a five-minute send off to the band's seminal album. Acoustic guitar meets piano and it's a sort of pub closer, the ending show theme a beautiful ending to a beautiful album, if I could liken it to an Oasis song I would say maybe a more upbeat 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out.'
You can't help but think if this was perhaps the band's first album we'd all have been listening to Beady Eye a long time ago but these things take time, their sound has matured and so has Liam, make no doubt about it, the man is an icon and you can't question his talent, as a front man I can't think of anyone from his generation onward who has been able to match his presence.
If I had to sum up this album in one word it would be 'beautiful.' From the artwork to the song titles the album bleeds beauty throughout. Liam has made this work along with the other members of Oasis bar Noel. I'm sure we'll see another resurrection at some point just like we did with The Stone Roses, as Liam puts it if the Gods want it to happen there is nothing stopping Oasis from playing together once again but after hearing 'BE' and revisiting 'Different Gear, Still Speeding' I’m more than happy for it to be prolonged.
Beady Eye are set to tour the UK this November.