Beady Eye: Different Gear, Still Speeding

Written by March 7th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Beady Eye
Different Gear, Still Speeding
(Dangerbird)
Rating: ★★★½☆

When rock is done right, there’s really nothing better. Fortunately, four members of Oasis – Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock – deliver just that as Beady Eye. The group’s debut album mixes blazing guitar riffs with pound-on-the-dashboard beats flavored with pop, blues and soul. That’s got to be a surprise to those that thought Noel Gallagher was the sole visionary in Oasis.

What’s that saying about living well being the best revenge? Noel’s little brother Liam and his three band mates clearly know something about that now that critics are comparing their collaboratively written songs to those of the Beatles mixed with hints of Velvet Underground and Little Richard. Different Gear missed the No. 1 U.K. album slot; Adele’s 21 took that honor. That’s too bad for Beady Eye, but all signs indicate there are plenty more milestones and honors ahead.

The album jumps right on the make-your-eardrums-bleed rock train with “Four Letter Word.” Some huff that “Four Letter Word” is a blatant attempt to remind Oasis fans that this band isn’t far from its heritage. So what? They’re not, and what better way to remind people than with a solid rock tune that sets the pace? And it’s not like the whole album is full of no-holds-barred rockers. “Millionaire” has hints of gentle pop in its melody that combine with catchy lyrics reminiscent of classic Beatles’ tunes circa Revolver.

But Beady Eye is nobody’s imitator. Gallagher’s distinctive vocals and the mix of influences swirled into the band’s sound take care of that. Perhaps that’s why “Beatles and Stones” is such a spot-on song for the band. Beady Eye has the pop sensibilities of the Beatles and bad-boy grit of the Stones. How many bands can really claim that? Yes, some will pout about the audacity of Beady Eye to compare themselves to what many consider the two greatest rock bands of a generation. So be it. This album, produced by Steve Lillywhite whose credits include U2, Dave Matthews Band and The Smiths, shows this band is ready to ready to compete for world-class status. Rock on.

  • Matthew

    Yeah, finally, someone else saying that Beatles and Stones is fantastic. Sure, the riff is from My Generation, but that can hardly be a serious criticism from anyone who likes Noel’s music. Fact is, there is so much more to this song than the riff — it’s really bassy, which is always a plus for me; it’s got a really heavy rock sound, despite featuring a keyboard and buggar all electric guitar (except for a laid-back lead that for the most part sounds like it’s on the settings used for the dreamy Strawberry Feilds); it’s got fantastic chord changes, that to me are just as unexpected as the changes in D’You Know What I mean; Liam’s vocals are on top form, characteristically enunciating words in an idiomatic way (‘time’ as ‘tuhm’) and the drawl is kept to a minimum; amazing drums that overtake a song during verse and become virtually the melody; and the ending (with the lead guitar finally chaning to a rock setting, but ending abruptly after only a few bars) is one of the most unexpected and bold endings I’ve ever heard. Sure, the lyrics are repetitive, but that’s a trope of old rock songs; and yeah, Liam is a bit arrogant in this, but then that’s Liam at his best; and, okay, the pun (lasting forever like beetles and stones) is a bit bland, but not obvious — I doubt most people have even picked up on it. In all, a great song to listen to, especially musically.

  • Matthew

    Although I think this line from your review, “Beady Eye has the pop sensibilities of the Beatles and bad-boy grit of the Stones,” is a little misleading, as I think the Beatles were grittier than anything the Stones did. Did the Stones ever do anything as dirty as Helter Skelter, or Yer Blues? Not the world’s number one Stone’s fan, so I’m not sure, but from what I’ve heard I think they don’t do rock as hard as the Beatles.

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