Exeter, Devon UK • Feb 27, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Music Album Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built the Moon?

Album Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built the Moon?

5 mins read
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As arguably Britain’s most prolific and widely respected indie songwriters, you could forgive Noel Gallagher for returning to a winning Oasis formula of mighty power ballads and thick nineties electric guitar. Swarmed by recent controversy of the seemingly never ending spat between him and sibling Liam, as well as increasing public calls for a reunion, no better was there a time for Noel to conciliate with Oasis fans and produce Morning Glory II. However, step aside, parker monkeys and middle aged mums, for this is no heart melting album of lost love and romances, nor a revisit to Oasis’ glory days. Noel is well and truly back with a breath of fresh air, in a musical evolution that before only existed in an messy indie wet dream.

Noel embraces the darkness.

Who Built the Moon? opens in full force with the four minute instrumental ‘Fort Nox’, combining the explosive intensity of rock n’ roll with electronic prog elements not often seen in a Gallagher record. Was it going to go full David Gilmour and merge into a 15 minute Dark Side of the Moon epic, or crack into a Kasabian-esque anthem worthy of a Bond theme? The answer was initially unclear- upon a first listen it can be hard to know exactly what you’re feeling, other than being hit by both excitement and curiosity. Only after hearing the rest of the album did it become apparent that this was mere precursor to the epic journey that was about to come.

Not often can a song seduce a listener on the first visit, but ‘Holy Mountain’ did exactly that. An upbeat rock n’ roll track, you can tell its straight laced groove and moshabilty will be a huge hit among fans live. Whereas solo artists of once glorious bands often have the habit of abusing their new found artistic freedom with unnecessary frills in the form of overindulgent instrument choices, Gallagher manages to explore experimental musical territory without any sense of overkill. Don’t be afraid – Gallagher hasn’t returned from an acid fuelled gap year from the Gadda-Da-Vida, so don’t be expecting any 17 minute ‘Iron Butterfly’-influenced super jams. That being said, for those hoping to use ‘It’s A Beautiful World’ as a first dance at their wedding, don’t be fooled, for here lies no tender ballad. Rammed into this jam is 5 minutes of alternative rock at its finest, mixing elements of psychedelia with modern indie, without compromising any of its edge. For those searching for demonic intervention in their lives then look no further than ‘The Man Whole Built the Moon’, which will ultimately make you question your existence while you simultaneously shit your pants at Gallagher’s filthy riffs.

Liam’s accusations that Noel has lost touch with rock and roll could not be further from the truth

Grounded in grit but smoothed with a layer of a sophistication that cannot be taught, Liam’s accusations that Noel has lost touch with rock and roll could not be further from the truth. This album has the ability to to wrench your guts like a whack from a sack of rusty spanners, while never compromising Gallagher’s inherent depth. While a primary relationship with rock n’ roll remains prevalent, this is no thoughtless modern rock endeavour. ‘The Man Who Built the Moon’ expertly incorporates elements of prog rock, psychedelia and indie, remaining totally unpretentious (minus the appearance of a scissor player in Gallagher’s ensemble). The spirit of youthful Manchester is maintained throughout, while showcasing the maturity of a musical legend, who has honed his craft.

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