Upon the breakup of Oasis in 2009, or rather, the departure of main songwriter Noel Gallagher, the remaining members of the group, including Oasis co-frontman and Noel’s brother, Liam, banded together to form Beady Eye.
As the remnants and rebirth of one of the most important British bands of the last 20 years, fans and the general public alike were no doubt anxious to see what would become of Beady Eye, which is essentially Oasis without the powerful presence of Noel.
The band delivers relatively well, considering “Different Gear, Still Speeding” is the first material they have released without Noel. The songs seem composed with a decent amount of expertise. It’s not as if Noel’s departure left the guys completely stranded – they seem to know what they are doing and show their abilities in their own right. Not surprisingly, however, the record isn’t quite as good as much of what Oasis has put out in the past.
Rest assured, Oasis fans will find something to like on “Different Gear, Still Speeding.” Liam and his crew have certainly distinguished themselves from Oasis, but there are still plenty of similarities nonetheless.
For starters, there’s Liam’s voice. The absolutely unmistakable swagger in his voice is the same as ever, and he does the vocals for every song on the album. In addition, there’s an upbeat feel to the record and a great amount of hard-driving rock riffs.
There are songs here and there that are reminiscent of Oasis, and these songs, combined with Liam’s voice and the ever-present love for The Beatles both brothers share should make just about any Oasis fan feel at home.
With that being said, the album is not by any means a re-hash of Oasis. There’s an abundance of old school-influenced rock ‘n’ roll and blues elements you won’t find on an Oasis album.
For example, “Beatles and Stones” starts off by borrowing the upbeat main riff from The Who’s “My Generation,” and throws in some bluesy piano accents — a bit of a departure from Oasis. Regardless, Liam apparently hasn’t lost much confidence, singing about how he’ll “stand the test of time, like Beatles and Stones.”
“Bring The Light” starts right off the bat with some classic Jerry Lee Lewis-style piano, which drives through the remaining three to four minutes. The song, like much else on the album, reflects Liam’s old school tendencies, and keeps up the album’s overall lively and uplifting vibe.
Liam’s reverence of John Lennon can be seen even more in “The Roller,” in which the verses seem to borrow heavily from Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” The song is good and catchy enough, but it doesn’t live up to his brother’s anthemic “Don’t Look Back In Anger,” inspired by Lennon’s “Imagine.”
“Three Ring Circus” is another track reflecting the album’s slightly more expected type of song: an edgy, straightforward rock song, coupled with the flowing, floating nature of Liam’s choruses. Beady Eye seems to be at their best in these slightly more rugged pop tunes.
The album opener, “Four Letter Word” is similar to this rougher nature, with Liam’s badass nature and rock stardom shining through. Without Noel exercising control over the group, the band certainly appears to take on a more Liam feel – the most differentiating aspect from Oasis.
There’s plenty of rock ‘n’ roll, but the album has a few ballads and mellow moments of its own. Unfortunately, the music doesn’t seem to have quite the same impact here.
“The Beat Goes On” is a slower song, a bit more nostalgic in nature. The chorus is tuneful, but the rest of the song doesn’t have anything particularly compelling. Needless to say, Liam fares much better in the upbeat rock tunes.
One of the better songs on the record is the six-minute closer, “The Morning Son.” Essentially the “Champagne Supernova” of the album, the song starts off slow and mellow, and picks up gradually over the course of the track. The song has some interesting variation and is an appropriate ending to the record. It’s similar in nature to “Champagne Supernova,” but it’s not quite up to par with the Oasis tune.
“Different Gear, Still Speeding” is a solid start for Beady Eye. They manage to get a foot in the door and distinguish themselves. Of equal importance, they successfully break out from under the looming presence of Oasis with a display of competent songwriting. The direction Liam takes with the songwriting does leave some to be desired. Some of the songs teeter on mediocre, but the potential is there.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars