Liam Gallagher reviews C’mon You Know: The rock ‘n’ roll star’s best solo album yet

“I’m very happy with the formula,” said Liam Gallagher NME in February. “I look cool. i sound good I’m speaking from the heart.” So he’s still wearing the parka and sunglasses. Still drunk falling out of (down) helicopters after festivals. Still channeling the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in big, airy rock songs; his famous sneer enhanced by his funnel-shaped hood, which drags those long, harsh vowels like a plastic bag full of cans. But despite a title’s lazy shrug, Gallagher’s third solo album is his best yet. It’s packed with more than enough blockey-bluesey energy and roaring choruses to drive the crowds mad at Knebworth next week.

Fences repaired after Keith Richards dismissed Oasis as “crap” in the ’90s, opens Gallagher, who supported the Rolling Stones on their 2018 tour come on you know with the first of many nods to the pirate rockers. The album’s opening bars are filled with a children’s choir, like the one that introduces “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Pure little voices sing over a crisply strummed acoustic guitar: “The cut, it never really heals/ Just enough to stop the bleed.”

Like the Stones’ song, “More Power” swells from longing to gratification as Gallagher regrets having been “angry for too long” that “you may not get the girl you want, but you will get the girl you do.” you need”. The song ends with a cymbal smash that segues casually into the bowl-along Madchester beat of “Diamond in the Dark,” as Gallagher taps his deerstalker to The Beatles’ “A Day In the Life.” He repeats the line, “Now I know how many holes it takes to…” and leaves the listener to mentally add “Fill the Albert Hall.” There’s more Fab Four-inspired fun on Don’t Go Halfway, playing on the trippy, reverse-winding tape sounds of Revolver. Gallagher enjoys himself, snarling lines like: “And a girl she give me hell/ In a flat in Camberwell” behind a pack of fags.

Dave Grohl shifts the chord pattern to a chunkier, Foos-esque sound on “Everything’s Electric,” the single he wrote with Gallagher. The Foo Fighters frontman dialed squarely into Gallagher’s style, with mostly impenetrable lyrics that allow the singer to oscillate between cornered confrontation (“No, you thought I didn’t know?”) and waves of optimism (” The higher we go / The longer we can fly!”). It doesn’t really have to make sense – listeners can howl along, adapting the phrases to exorcise and rise above their own grievances.

There’s so much sheer, one-to-one attitude in Gallagher’s parka pastiche that’s hard to resist. His band is on fire for it. Riffs from the guitars. Drumming constantly a tremor. Even wacky tracks like “World in Need” (“Send Godspeed”) catch fire with harmonica hooks and shaken maracas. There are a few textural surprises too: reggae and dub moments amidst the thrash of a paranoid “I’m Free”, a mad vibe on “It Was Not Meant To Be” and some unexpected folky tweaks on “Moscow Rules”. Things end with a blissful “Sweet Children,” echoing John Lennon’s spinning post-Beatles sound. Fans only have to spin this album a couple of times before they can sing along on the festival fields. Close your eyes and you can smell Stella already spilled on the shredded grass. The formula works. Liam Gallagher reviews C’mon You Know: The rock ‘n’ roll star’s best solo album yet


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