Beady Eye - BE (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
JUST how different is Beady Eye’s sophomore album, BE? Well, if we’re honest, not that different.
It’s still dripping in the style to which Liam Gallagher has become accustomed to, albeit with flashes here and there of experimentation. Producer Dave Sitek adds some extra electronic swirls here and there, brass gets employed more boldly and there’s a guest appearance from Fonejacker.
But this is, in the main, a similar sort of sound. And it’s an enjoyable one without really stretching anyone. Hell, even the pacing is pretty formulaic, with a fast one, slow one, fast one, slow one approach.
Where once Oasis were always comparable to The Beatles, Beady Eye perhaps spread their influences more widely. There’s still a touch of classic Lennon and McCartney, of course, but over the course of BE there’s also traces of classic Primal Scream, a little Beck, some Stones, and maybe the odd Jeff Beck.
Gallagher’s vocals continue to provide a mesmerising focal point. There are few frontmen today who can enthrall quite so powerfully, even if there are times when his lyrics don’t have that much to say (“sing that song, dig it all night long” is one pearl that comes from Second Bite Of The Apple).
If it sounds like we’re being unduly harsh then fear not. We did like the album. It’s a collection of songs that offer an old school, guilty pleasure… a sound rooted in guitars that blows away the boy band sound that often so dominates the upper echelons of the charts nowadays.
Take one instant album highlight, Shine A Light, for instance, which rocks along in robust fashion, dropping an anthemic chorus, some powerhouse riffs and a meaty back-beat that invites you to get up and dance.
In contrast, the track that immediately follows it, Ballroom Figured, strips it all right back to Liam’s vocals and an acoustic guitar that recalls classic Beatles and even classic Oasis (Wonderwall, etc).
Earlier on, Second Bite Of The Apple thrives from its Beck-like back-beat and ballsy attitude, while Face The Crowd drops some of the album’s meatiest guitar riffs and then also a tambourine back-beat that’s pure Rocks Off-era Primal Scream.
Album opener Flick Of The Finger, meanwhile, lifts off from a pulsating drum march, a brass fanfare and background vocals from Fonejacker to really give the album a proper launch pad.
Of the quieter numbers, Soul Love offers a song of pure devotion, in which Liam croons “it’s all for you, everything I do” as well as dropping truth bombs such as “life is short, so don’t be shy”. It’s evidence of the band’s ability to deliver a telling ballad in amongst the livelier stuff.
But throughout, there is evidence of this (courtesy of that fast-slow-fast approach). Soon Come Tomorrow is just a really great listen that very deliberately recalls Morning Glory-era Oasis and, in turn, The Beatles, Don’t Brother Me offers heart-on-sleeve introspection and Start Anew strips things back and implores the listener to “come on take a chance, me and you” over more softly-softly strumming and a soulful Liam vocal.
Hence, for all the reservations surrounding the alleged broadening out of Beady Eye’s sound and the undoubted scepticism that will come from the ne’sayers who predicted that this band would never really emerge from the shadow of Oasis (and there is an element of truth in that), BE still manages to deliver a really good listen.
It’ll satisfy without ever really dazzling… and that’s sometimes all you need from a really good LP.
Download picks: Flick Of The Finger, Second Bite Of The Apple, Soul Love, Shine A Light, Start Anew, Soon Come Tomorrow