“As You Were”
BOTTOM LINE Oasis frontman’s solo debut is the liveliest he has been in years.
In Oasis, the division of labor between the Gallagher brothers was pretty clear.
Frontman Liam Gallagher was the swaggering one, the one who knew how to get attention with a well-placed barb or an energetic sneer. Guitarist Noel Gallagher was the deep one, the one who saw how ’90s Britpop could both carry on the tradition of The Beatles and The Stones while still making a name for themselves.
When Oasis — and the brothers — split up in 2009, Liam seemed to take it harder, forming the band Beady Eye, which lasted for two middling albums before he decided to go out on his own.
His debut solo album, “As You Were” (Warner Bros.), shows that he was always meant to be the sole focus. But he only accomplished that by being more willing to accept help.
Gallagher enlists producer Greg Kurstin — best known for his work with Adele, though he has earned plenty of rock cred for his work on the new Foo Fighters album — for the snarling first single “Wall of Glass,” which sounds like an updated cross of Oasis and The Stones. Kurstin also plays all the instruments on “Paper Crown,” which hearkens back to early John Lennon solo material.
The Lennon influence is even more evident on the stripped-down “Chinatown,” produced and co-written by Miike Snow frontman Andrew Wyatt, where Gallagher sings, “Well, the cops are taking over while everyone’s in yoga, ’cause happiness is still a warm gun.”
Gallagher is at his best, though, in the dreamy sweetness of “Universal Gleam,” which sounds like it could detour into “Champagne Supernova” at any given moment. There is always something special when he lets some of his guard down, trading some of his notorious edge for glimmers of hope.
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While “As You Were” may not be groundbreaking, it is certainly sturdy enough to launch Gallagher’s solo career.