Liam Gallagher: As You Were – debut solo album, track by track review

Liam Gallagher, a self-acclaimed national treasure, has spearheaded a turbulent lifestyle since the splitting of Oasis following feuds with brother Noel back in 2009. The younger of the pair endured some quiet times, following the end of new band Beady Eye in 2014, residing in the background while Noel produced two solo albums as Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. When he returned to the public eye through his entertaining Twitter account, posting videos of him clearly enjoying himself on numerous holidays, he remained true to the fact he wasn’t ready to produce music again. Months went by and Liam seemingly became hungry for more, and in June this year he released the artwork and title for his album As You Were, that was released on Warner Bros on Friday 6 October.

The album is the catalyst for a string of UK tour dates before Christmas, and LG is back on the scene with a record that expresses past frustrations and fresh creativity. Singles Wall of GlassChinatown, and For What It’s Worth were released over the summer months wetting the appetite for the 12-track LP (or 15 if you’re feeling deluxe).

It is that first single, Wall of Glass, that opens up the album in typical Liam fashion. From a linguistic perspective, sibilant lyrics sneer out of the track, from a rock and roll perspective they square up to you with a pool cue in hand. On the video for the track he leans into the camera provocatively, enquiring through an opening statement that was to set the bar for his solo career. On the festival circuit it was a winner, and here is a familiar opening before we get some newer stuff.

That newer stuff comes in the form of Bold, although strictly speaking those that ventured out to the festivals will have caught this as part of his setlist. It is truly something in between Don’t Believe The Truth and Dig Out Your Soul. The mention of the album title of Noel’s latest release stands out in the early exchanges, and the vibe of a solo artist makes itself clear. Alternating between addresses of ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘me’, it leads into a soulful bridge before ascending back into the chorus.

Greedy Soul comes as we’ve caught our breath, a direct assault that sounds like trash-talk at a boxing press conference. Gallagher is far from on the ropes, and in the third round his tail is up and he’s on his toes. Of course, there’s evidence for every track to link to his brotherly feud – but let’s stay away from that, maybe (definitely) there are other people he has in the past crossed words with.

Track 4 is Paper Crown, a teaser of which was released in the week leading up to the release. It is the first glimpse of Beatles inspiration, as dual vocals tell a story of fragility and honestly. The foundations of this track sit firmly Beatles inspiration, as dual vocals tell a story of fragility and honestly. The foundations of this track sit firmly with Sgt. Pepper, a frequent source of inspiration, the bridge of this track listened to alongside A Day In The Life reveals similarities none more than partially distorted vocals.

‘In my defence all my intentions were good, and heaven knows a place somewhere for the misunderstood…’ The opening line of third and final pre-release single  For What It’s Worth begins another honest and open track that lays Liam bare. But when, at the halfway stage, the lyrics reveal ‘a fire within’ we can assume although service has resumed far from where he left off, there remains creativity and determination – this album being the result.

The next track is When I’m In Need is the tune that has a profound demo feel. It is the first appearance too for a female character, romance is far from the top of the list when it comes to inspiration for As You Were but as this track flowers it reveals a different side to his boisterous character.

We’re back with physicality with You Better Run. It is at this point that the amount of album and track titles from various bands becomes apparent. Gimme Shelter, All of Nothing, Helter Skelter and Love Will Tear Us Apart all feature, either by intention or coincidence, they form an interesting layer below the obvious on the album.

Chinatown was released as the middle single over the summer, it’s the slow sound of a bass that drum underpins chimes and lucid guitar work that again can be sourced in The Beatles‘ discography. It was probably the most scrutinised track over the summer, and it will remain one that slightly polarises listeners by opinion.

It is that guitar sound that develops into Come Back To Me, like an upbeat extension of the previous track. Perhaps the male/female relationship we heard before has returned to reel in someone who’s gone ‘a bit too far’, one might suggest however if anyone has needed to curtail since 2009 it would be tricky for Liam to point the finger.

Universal Gleam comes not from Lennon or Gallagher, N, but from his time in Beady Eye. Tracks The Morning Son from 2011’s ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ or Start Anew from 2013’s ‘BE’ are incredibly similar as the album winds down. The track was a pick for fans sharing the song on social media, perhaps unexpectedly.

While we’re on Beady Eye, the intro to final track I’ve All I Need is the twin brother of the same section of Flick of The Finger from their final release. It is the perfect album closer, retrospective, it even says ‘there’s no time for looking back, thanks for all your support’. It is one of the moments of the album where Liam’s attitude is radiant, love him or hate him this has been an interesting journey, but this track is for those who’ve stuck around, and it’s quite emotional.

There are three deluxe tracks in the form, firstly, of It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way – probably placed as an extra because of it’s difference to any other track on the album. All My People / All Mankind is a Lennon title if there has ever been one, with a signature ‘shiiine’ just for good measure, and a poignant lyrics by way of ‘selfies, what a fucking disease.’ The final tune of the 15 is I Never Wanna Be Like You, a parting gift and the last we’ll hear from Liam for now.

As You Were is out now, and Liam plays a sold out UK tour including dates in Glasgow, Birmingham, London and Manchester in November and December.

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