Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Blue Moon Rising EP

Blue Moon Rising EP

Will this please Oasis fans? Noel Gallagher, once their darling, has seen his stock fall over the last few years, primarily down to two things: the partisanship of social media meaning apparently everyone has to take a side and, in correlation, the rebirth of his younger brother.

Despite that fanbase now having the luxury of Oasis-esque material from Liam and more experimental work from Noel, it seems some still aren’t happy. Not that Noel seems to care.

The animosity started following the release of 2017’s Who Built The Moon? album, and subsequent releases have only stoked their ire. Despite this, it is his prerogative to experiment (after 25 years of writing songs in a broadly similar style, one can understand his need to do so), but some people refuse to allow it.

By rights this EP (the last of three during the past six months) should go some way towards redemption. The first reveal, Christmas-time single Wandering Star, could only be him; the wistful romanticism and half-paced chord structure putting his trademarks front and centre. As per, Gallagher rips off one of his heroes (the ‘my oh my’ cribbed from U2’s Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of) on a song that is broadly about his personal life and loves. Kudos to the man, he really loves his wife. The sleigh bells, added at the last minute for that Christmas market, are a bit gratuitous and sound incongruous here in March, but other than that it’s a welcome addition to his many songs of this oeuvre.

Come On Outside was originally earmarked for his former band, and has been remarkably unaltered in the ten years since being written, this version having been mixed by his old confidante Dave Sardy. The demo has been given a polish, with spooky piano and choirs added, and is an absolute brute of a song with a rollicking vocal performance that hits that Oasis sweet spot. Without wishing to be obvious, it would though be interesting to hear Liam’s take on it.

The title-track is more in line with his new, modern sound, aping 1980s atmospherics as he’s been doing for some time. His vocals are stark against a toe-tapping beat and good melody. The chorus seems underwhelming at first but gets under the skin while the lyrics, once again concerning matters of the heart, are also a cut above.

The Reflex Revision version focuses on the effects, emphasising the Running Up That Hill-esque noise and other sounds for over seven minutes. Inessential, but a good listen. The 7” mix on the other hand, such as it is, offers little.

With a 66% hit rate this EP should then please the Oasis fandom, a parting gift before his next album.

8/10

Richard Bowes

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