Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built The Moon?
You don’t need to hear all of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ new album, Who Built The Moon?
Track one, ‘Fort Knox’ is an ostentatious attempt at cinematic indie that seems like an attempt to rouse excitement. But it sounds like tepid and uninteresting attempt to match the 90s genius of bands like Primal Scream.
‘It’s A Beautiful World’ is a long, meandering and futile attempt at the kind of space rock Spiritualized nailed in the Britpop heyday. Noel’s just not cool enough to pull off laidback psych soul in ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, and why the hell did he need to include an interlude two-thirds of the way through?
Nope, you don’t need to hear all of Who Built The Moon? But you do need to hear some of it.
The Suffragette City stomp of ‘Holy Mountain’ is his best song in years – no joke. There’s nary an original idea in its four minutes and it doesn’t matter one bit – we don’t love Noel Gallagher because he’s a trailblazer, we love him because he writes pop songs with utter precision.
The high energy pop-soul of ‘Keep On Reaching’ doesn’t sound all that authentic, but it does sound fun. The propulsive ‘She Taught Me How To Fly’ is a fresh take on the best of 80s radio rock.
‘Black & White Sunshine’ and ‘If Love Is The Law’ could well have slotted into one of Oasis’ best records back in the day. Which, despite what the Noel Gallagher super-fans will have you believe, is what most people still want from him after all these years.
In spite of Who Built The Moon?’s missteps, Noel deserves points for expanding his sonic palette far more than his brother Liam did on his recent record. We just don’t have to love everything he throws against the wall.
Gallagher’s most enduring work has always come when he’s kept things simple. It’s shame that he sees the need to bloat much of this album with glossy, overcooked production and a quest for something more artful than we expect from him. But we can’t blame him for wanting to evolve.
At its core, Who Built The Moon? proves that Noel Gallagher is still a masterful songwriter. He might not nail it every time, but he’s earned the right to try a few new things.