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Gallagher brothers’ solo work is a mixed bag

Annie Zaleski

The Details

Beady Eye 'Different Gear, Still Speeding'
Two and a half stars

When Oasis busted up in spectacular fashion in 2009, the only surprise was that the band lasted as long as it did. Brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher had spent the previous 15 years alternately sparring with each other—often publicly, using colorful language—and quitting the band. Each time one sibling left, however, he came back … except after the last fight.

The Details

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds 'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds'
Three and a half stars

The brothers’ competitive nature didn’t subside post-split, as both launched solo projects. Liam’s Beady Eye—which finds him collaborating with Oasis members Gem Archer and Andy Bell—reached the record shops first with the February release of Different Gear, Still Speeding. A hit-or-miss affair, the album swaggered with brash guitar riffs indebted to glam, Zeppelin and the Stones, with the occasional acoustic flourish and psych-rock jam thrown in. While Speeding’s music is laser-focused, the songs themselves suffer from the labored vibe of Oasis’ weakest work.

Songwriting-wise, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds—the recent debut by the titular band—is by far the superior album. Packed with easygoing shuffles and lush instrumentation, it’s introspective and affecting. Like the hits Noel wrote for Oasis, Birds sounds effortless and simple without pandering.

Still, an Oasis reunion feels inevitable. Besides the monetary windfall, the brothers’ quarreling has always had conciliatory overtones. Even as Liam sued Noel over comments made about the split, he talked potential reunion—in 2015. With the Gallaghers, the only constant is that nothing is.

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