Album Of The Week - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Who Built The Moon?
Leading on from last week's prog-rock, we come back across the pond and go to Manchester for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' 2017 album Who Built The Moon?.
I've been a fan of the High Flying Birds for a good while now and this album really is fantastic. I'd say that it's his best collection of work since Oasis and one that definitely takes a different turn from his time in the Manchester superstars ten years ago. Opening track Fort Knox is catchy and mainly instrumental, that features some slick drum work from Chris Sharrock. Keep On Reaching is an especially funky tune that harks back to the days of sixties psychedelia, with some of the horn sections echoing something that could be heard in The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album from 1967. It's this wonderfully compiled sound collage that deserves more recognition than it currently has.
It's A Beautiful World is typical Gallagher really; a simplistic lyrical structure with a much deeper meaning. The song concerns the idea that it's your "inner world" that matters most; the world that you live in, with your feelings and the people around you taking centre stage, not the picturesque scenery to go with it. He's said in interviews that the song carries a somewhat pessimistic viewpoint and whilst this may be represented in the downbeat vocal, it isn't the point of the song and that does not detract from its brilliance. Interlude (Wednesday Part 1), is the first instrumental of two on this album and in typical Gallagher fashion, it was given that name since it was recorded on a Wednesday. It's a little reminder of the two Swamp Song instrumentals on (What's The Story?) Morning Glory from 1995.
Be Careful What You Wish For is really aimed at children and is one of the 'rockier' tracks that is again reminiscent of The Beatles, with a bassline similar to that of Paul McCartney on either Revolver or Sgt. Pepper. The song acts as a little bit of inspiration, saying that people should not be reliant upon others for success; they should "make their own destiny". It uses the age-old key/door metaphor that Noel is so fond of - this time it comes in the form of"They’ve given you the key, son/But you’ll never find the door" and goes in tandem with similar figures of speech found on the likes of Fade Away, a B-Side for Cigarettes & Alcohol from 1994.
Overall, if you're looking for something that can act as a "blast from the past", look no further than Who Built The Moon?. It's a tremendous album that features all elements of sixties psychedelia that you could possibly ask for, and is a potentially career-defining album for Noel Gallagher that I'd put up there with his time in Oasis. Absolutely brilliant.
More musical magnificence to come next week!