Following Oasis’ career was like watching a prolonged boxing match. Two years after the band’s breakup, brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher are still throwing punches at each other from a distance, with Liam delivering the first blow in the form of Beady Eye’s fine debut. “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds,” released this week, fights back with equal power.
Like Beady Eye, Noel’s new band sounds an awful lot like Oasis. Both bands mix pop melodies with guitar-based psychedelia, evoking the Beatles one minute and the Kinks the next. While Liam sings with a sneer, though, Noel croons like a boozy romantic, flipping into his falsetto during the high notes and singing the lower parts in a gauzy baritone.
As a result, “High Flying Birds” is smoother than you’d expect, jettisoning a bit of Oasis’ overdriven crunch and focusing more on the woozy, dreamy beauty that filled the band’s later work. This is still a rock album, but it saunters rather than swaggers. Tracks like “The Death of You and Me” even find room for a horn section worthy of “Sgt. Pepper,” proof that there’s enough talent left in the Gallagher brotherhood to fuel two different bands.