In the years since Oasis disbanded in 2009, we’ve heard from both Liam Gallagher and ex-band mate/brother Noel Gallagher, but never in the context of a “solo act.” Until now. Sure, Liam formed Beady Eye in the wake of Oasis’ dissolution and released two records, but not until 2017 had he released anything by himself — which Noel has done, of course, with a pair of Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds albums in 2011 and 2015.
As You Were, Liam’s first full-length solo record, is out on October 6 and was a long time coming indeed … and it definitely delivers the goods. Anybody curious if he’d be able to live up to the pedigree put out by Noel’s pair of post-Oasis albums ought to be satisfied with As You Were, a crisply-produced (thanks, Greg Kurstin and Dan Grech-Marguerat) set of 12 songs that span roughly 50 minutes in total.
That’s key, considering Oasis and Beady Eye were never exactly great at trimming the fat when it came to editing themselves in the studio. But on As You Were, Liam’s songs land as they’re supposed to and don’t drag on for extended periods of time.
Vocally, Liam sounds as he always has — his unmistakable voice highlighting songs such as “Bold,” the rhythmic “Greedy Soul” (and its hand claps and lyrical jabs at somebody – perhaps Noel?), the Beatles-inspired “For What It’s Worth” and more.
It’s clear listening to As You Were that Liam really put some time and effort into this record. Some of Beady Eye’s output, which only spanned two albums, seemed rushed or perhaps a bit unfocused. These new songs, on the contrary, feature rich, thought-out melodies, memorable hooks and the kind of warm familiarity that you feel when listening to old Oasis records.
Here’s “Chinatown,” one of the album’s highest points:
And while a full album of Liam’s voice could be a bit much in the Beady Eye era, it works on As You Were, which is again a compliment to the songwriting and production on display, not to mention the great instrumentation throughout the record.
Much of the bitterness between Liam and Noel — they continue to slag each other in the press, of course — seems to have always stemmed from a deep competition for attention (remember when Liam sat out Oasis’ MTV Unplugged performance and heckled Noel from the rafters?). With As You Were, though, Liam more than makes a statement that he’s just as formidable out of Oasis as he was in it, and is eager to give Noel a run for his money as ‘most successful Gallagher brother outside Oasis.’
Might they make amends again and cast aside their resentments for one more reunion and world tour in the coming years? That’d be something to see…but now that each of them have exorcised their solo album ambitions, it’s anybody’s guess.