Following Noel Gallagher‘s much-publicized departure from Oasis in 2009, it came as no surprise that brother Liam and the remaining members would carry on without him. Those who haven’t studied every riff and chord from the band’s 18 years in the game will be interested to learn that Noel was, quite apparently, the single resisting force behind brother/frontman Liam’s quest to directly funnel the Beatles’ melodic style into a modern sound. The mimicry had always been obvious, but Oasis consistently seemed to possess just enough charisma and originality to burn away the more serious of the comparative damnations.
That balance has been cast aside with zeal with the abomination of blandness and musical patchwork that is Beady Eye. The band’s debut LP Different Gear, Still Speeding is as painfully trite confirmation that the hype was, in fact, just hype, and Oasis survivors Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer (guitarist), Andy Bell (guitarist/bassist) and newcomer Chris Sharrock (drummer, previously of the Las) have made a world of quality promises that haven’t come within screaming range of being fulfilled.
Despite the grandstanding, it’s immediately obvious that we’ve been shortchanged. There is no power-grabbing affirmation of validity like "Morning Glory," no "D’you Know What I Mean?" and certainly nothing near the ethereal nostalgia of "Champagne Supernova". No, these sounds are far more ham-handed grabs at formulaic poppy anthemics than outpourings of true passion. The attempts to recapture a 60s Britpop energy are too forced, and Liam’s declarations in advance of the album’s release (it’s "better than Definitely Maybe," etc.) do nothing to help its staggering mediocrity.
We were told to get our expectations up, and so we did. And when "The Beat Goes On" laid out its Fab Four ambitions in shameless recreation, and Beatles And Stones outright jacked a Who bassline, we’re left feeling cheated, the corners of innovation and originality cut for derivative accessibility.
Different Gear, Still Speeding isn’t totally devoid of fun, as "Bring the Light" delivers on its promise of a 60s dance party and "Three Ring Circus" rings more swagger than the group’s previous incarnation would’ve tolerated (and admittedly, it’s nice to hear a different solo flavor on the guitars). It’s even possible to avoid the overall feeling that Oasis would’ve done it better when listening to rocker "Standing on the Edge of the Noise," full of Liam’s trademark preening vocal and big-rock backing instrumentation.
But the good graces don’t last long. "For Anyone" is a fit of lighthearted melodic nonsense, preceding a far superior "Kill For a Dream," which evokes a hint of the atmospheric depths we’ve come to expect from these players under a different name – just for a moment. The song simply never goes anywhere, and ultimately falls flat on passion. The fighting spirit that seemed to grow from the destructive chemistry in the Gallagher brothers’ relationship is entirely lacking, the result a flaccid gathering of tunes. The retro-rock influences are all too familiar, the ambition to corner a sound half a century old simply too tired to remain interesting.
The signs of brotherly discord aren’t as lyrically obvious as one might expect from such a brash, arrogant thorn of a human as Liam. In fact, the only overtly obvious dig occurs in "Kill For a Dream," when Liam declares, "Life’s too short not to forgive/ I’m here if you wanna call". A slightly less transparent, and considerably more catty, message comes through in "The Beat Goes On": "I’m the last of a dying breed / It’s not the end of the world / It’s not even the end of the day," he jeers, unapologetic and unrelenting in dismissals of the missing Gallagher..
Beady Eye are a spent force upon arrival, a low-grade substitute for what we all would rather hear: a new Oasis record. The incendiary chemistry between the Gallagher brothers is sorely missed in the Rock world, but never more than within the confines of this 51-minute waste of time.
CraveOnline Rating: 4 out of 10