Category Archives: Beady Eye
Beady Eye – Different Gear, Still Speeding
Arrogance was always an integral part of Oasis. After years of bickering with his younger brother, Liam, Noel Gallagher left the band for good, and rather than dissolve the group, Liam decided to pick up the pieces, intent to prove he didn’t need Noel (who wrote most of Oasis’ catalog) to succeed. Keeping Gem Archer and Andy Bell on board, Liam decided to repurpose the band, complete with a new name, Beady Eye. The change wasn’t just cosmetic, though, because their first album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, finds all three members sharing songwriting credits, making it more democratic than any Oasis record, at least in name. Also, as the title implies, Liam truly insists that the band is just as great as ever—even comparing the album to Oasis’ classic debut, Definitely, Maybe in interviews—despite the slight personnel changes. So with all this buildup and the vintage Gallagher boasts, how did the whole project actually turn out?
As it turns out, better than you might have thought, though this isn’t the great triumph that diehard fans—or Liam—hoped for. Whereas other artists in the same position might have created some overblown, overambitious statement of purpose to distinguish themselves from their previous band, Liam is special in that he hates those kinds of overblown, overambitious records in the first place. As he says in the pompous but earnest “Beatles And Stones,” “I just wanna rock ‘n’ roll.” Without the contemporary-minded Noel in the way, Liam is free to indulge all his retro obsessions. And make no mistake, though Bell and Archer are equally credited for songwriting, this is Liam’s vision all the way. This means that Different Gear is full of the sort of swaggering Stones-y rock and Beatlesque pop that you’d expect from the man, but this time around, he seems even further disconnected from the present. This music isn’t hip or cool by any means, but the sincerity in which Liam sings and the zest in which the band plays actually makes this album sound fresher than much of Oasis’ post-(What’s The Story) Morning Glory? work. The bluesy boogie “Bring The Light” and the snarling opener “Four Letter Word” are expectedly tough rockers (though no less fine for it), but the surprisingly melodic “Millionaire” and “For Anyone” remind listeners that this is the man responsible for “Songbird,” one of Oasis’ best ballads. Yet, a few moments notwithstanding, Different Gear becomes a bit of a drag as it pushes on through its second half, especially when the songs begin to run out of ideas before they end. But in any case, fun is fun, and since Liam steadfastly believes in his rock ‘n’ roll clichés, Beady Eye is about nothing less than a good time, which is, most of the time, what this album delivers.