Chasing Yesterday is the second studio album by the English rock band Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. Written and produced by eponymous frontman Noel Gallagher, the album was recorded in 2014 at Strangeways and Abbey Road Studios in London. It was released on 25 February 2015 by Gallagher's record label Sour Mash Records, preceded by the singles "In the Heat of the Moment" and "Ballad of the Mighty I". Chasing Yesterday topped the UK Albums Chart in its first week of release.
here are many lost albums sitting in record company vaults, shipwrecked for numerous reasons: quality control, financial disputes, artistic pique. One such artefact is the collaboration between Noel Gallagher and psychedelic crate-diggers the Amorphous Androgynous, an album Gallagher recently swore will “never see the light of day”. Recorded around 2010-11, but apparently never mixed to his satisfaction, it was originally destined to be Gallagher’s debut solo album (or at least, that’s what he told AA). Moreover, it was to be the record in which Gallagher cast off the formulaic shackles of Oasis and unleashed his surprisingly esoteric personal tastes, never before reflected in his output. It would have been a win-win. Fans would have bought it because it was Noel; critics would have lapped it up. Instead, Gallagher got cold feet and released the Gallagheresque High Flying Birds, which sold 2.5m. So he probably did the right thing.
At least one track from those AA sessions survives in much-altered form on Chasing Yesterday, Gallagher’s latest solo album. The Right Stuff is a shimmery duet in which piano, brushed drums and distant brass add to a sense of hazy reverie – a little jazz, a lot 60s. It sounds as though Gallagher is wearing a turtleneck and smoking a Gitane while cocking his famous eyebrow. It is quite appealing. And you wonder why in the name of all that is amplified, Gallagher chickened out of AA.
Because Chasing Yesterday is largely the same-old, same-old. Gallagher’s second solo outing finds the 47-year-old chronically unwilling to go off-piste, even as his good friend and idol, Paul Weller, has repeatedly released more unconventional work, and is currently working with AA, who are merely wiggy producers, rather than true margin-walkers.
Already unveiled, Ballad of the Mighty I boasts the sort of 90s dance-rock undercarriage that recalls Gallagher’s guest spots for the Chemical Brothers in the mid-90s, with Johnny Marr on reverberating guitar. Even better, Riverman features surprisingly luminous arrangements and boasts a shock sax solo, arresting not just for its Liam-baiting presence but for its restrained elegance.
The otherwise rousing You Know We Can’t Go Back, in which Gallagher rhymes “one-horse town” with “bring you down”, ends wistfully on the distant clack of a typewriter and an understated piano flourish, bringing on a pang of cognitive dissonance. How can this base matter and refined antimatter coexist in the same song?
Ultimately, all these baby steps merely hint at looseness, at an expanded mind, at the possibilities of a head space rewired from Champagne Supernovas (some might say cocaine triumphalism) into something more evolved and digressive. Hardcore Oasis fans will not be disappointed one bit: this is a record solid with tunes about not looking back in anger. There’s a Beatles reference within the first 30 seconds (“There’s something in the way she moves me… to distraction,” it goes). A love song to his wife, Sara Macdonald, has the wit to crib off David Bowie for a change. This is not so much a dreadful record as a wasted opportunity. But one of the most successful tunesmiths in living memory is not going to throw it all away for some credit with the artsy-fartsy types. His song remains resolutely the same.
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/mar/01/noel-gallagher-high-flying-birds-chasing-yesterday-review-same-old-same-old User Comments