Artists do not exist in a vacuum. They are shaped by their surroundings. Whether it’s the music they listen to, the women they love or the city they live in; anything and everything can leave imprints destined to inform a musician’s creative vision. Consciously or unconsciously, the stars of today are inspired by the heroes of yesteryear. This is no secret, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Unfortunately, on occasion, a writer’s hero worship and obsession with certain sounds can transcend influence; creating transparent derivatives and tiresome pastiches. To his credit, Liam Gallagher has never hidden his love for John Lennon and the 60s aesthetic; sadly, without his elder brother’s eye for modernity, Beady Eye’s debut has been consumed by retrospection.
Always brazen Liam appears shameless as “The Roller” pinches the progressions of “All You Need Is Love”, while “Beatles & Stones” and “The Beats Goes On” borrow from “My Generation”, “Life On Mars” and “All The Young Dudes” respectively. Pinching progressions, riffs and melodies is nothing new and when done right it warrants admiration rather than derision.
After all, no one batted an eye lid when Noel aped “Imagine’s” progressions for Oasis’s seminal hit “Don’t Look Back Anger”; because the end product is unquestionably strong. The same cannot be said of Different Gear, Still Speeding whose appeal is uniformly transient. Despite this, some genuine highlights emerge; “Four Letter Word” is a bombastic blast of driving rock, “Millionaire” is an endearing jaunt, and Liam finds himself in superb voice throughout.
Different Gear, Still Speeding is driven by an infectious self confidence that at times verges on thoughtless frivolity. Sadly the album is ultimately weighed down by a series of tedious jams (“Bring The Light”, “Wigwam” and “Standing On The Edge Of The Noise”). The end result is an album of Byrds-light psychedelic rock & roll that recalls Primal Scream’s regrettable mid life crisis record Riot City Blues.
Beady Eye’s debut lacks neither style nor confidence, but is devoid of standout tracks and start to finish quality. On “Beatles & Stones” Liam dreams of rock and roll immortality. His legacy may be secure, but if Different Gear, Still Speeding is anything to go by: Beady Eye are unlikely to “stand the test of time”.
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