Different Gear, Still Speeding
[Rating: 3.5 stars]
When rock is done right, there’s really nothing better. Fortunately, four members of Oasis – Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock – deliver just that as Beady Eye. The group’s debut album mixes blazing guitar riffs with pound-on-the-dashboard beats flavored with pop, blues and soul. That’s got to be a surprise to those that thought Noel Gallagher was the sole visionary in Oasis.
What’s that saying about living well being the best revenge? Noel’s little brother Liam and his three band mates clearly know something about that now that critics are comparing their collaboratively written songs to those of the Beatles mixed with hints of Velvet Underground and Little Richard. Different Gear missed the No. 1 U.K. album slot; Adele’s 21 took that honor. That’s too bad for Beady Eye, but all signs indicate there are plenty more milestones and honors ahead.
The album jumps right on the make-your-eardrums-bleed rock train with “Four Letter Word.” Some huff that “Four Letter Word” is a blatant attempt to remind Oasis fans that this band isn’t far from its heritage. So what? They’re not, and what better way to remind people than with a solid rock tune that sets the pace? And it’s not like the whole album is full of no-holds-barred rockers. “Millionaire” has hints of gentle pop in its melody that combine with catchy lyrics reminiscent of classic Beatles’ tunes circa Revolver.
But Beady Eye is nobody’s imitator. Gallagher’s distinctive vocals and the mix of influences swirled into the band’s sound take care of that. Perhaps that’s why “Beatles and Stones” is such a spot-on song for the band. Beady Eye has the pop sensibilities of the Beatles and bad-boy grit of the Stones. How many bands can really claim that? Yes, some will pout about the audacity of Beady Eye to compare themselves to what many consider the two greatest rock bands of a generation. So be it. This album, produced by Steve Lillywhite whose credits include U2, Dave Matthews Band and The Smiths, shows this band is ready to ready to compete for world-class status. Rock on.