Review: Beady Eye – BE
Published on June 18th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
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Listening to Beady Eye’s second album BE, it’s all too tempting to ponder just how good they could be with someone other than Liam Gallagher as their focal point.
Roping in TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek has proved to be an inspired move, the net result being an LP’s worth of material that frequently surprises by just how gosh darn majestic it sounds. Almost uniformly, these moments do not feature the input of the erstwhile Oasis front man, whose once-commanding sneer is now more of an insistent squawk.
Having expected more of the lamentable pub rock that characterised their 2011 debut Different Gear, Still Speeding, the bombastic brass of opening track “Flick of the Finger” and alluringly brooding strum of the ensuing “Soul Love” come as quite the pleasant surprises.
There’s even better to come: the extended instrumental outro to “Don’t Brother Me” is wondrous, chiming and twinkling with an otherworldly psychedelia of which neither Noel nor Liam have ever been capable of, while the cascading breakdown of “Start Anew” is surely the closest that either has come to sounding like Sigur Rós (albeit Liam probably had very little to do with this).
Perhaps the neatest summation of BE is provided by “I’m Just Saying”, in which a weird, whirring background noise enlivens what would otherwise have scarcely made for a serviceable Oasis B-side. “I’m feeling fine / This is my time to shine” Gallagher sings here, just one of many lyrical lowlights that blight the record.
Let’s face it, you’d grant an encouraging ruffle of the hair to your 5-year-old if they came up with “You’re the apple of my eye / Spread your wings and learn to fly / All I know is you can be / Everything you want to be” (from “Soul Love”), but when it’s the work of a 40-year-old man you’re left with little choice but to gaze questioningly up to the heavens with wide-eyed incredulity.
“The World’s Not Set in Stone” has some nice applications of ornate instrumentation about it but the lyrics are too moronic for words. Dare we reproduce them? Oh yes:
“I’ve something here that’s gotta be heard / I’m gonna take it up with the world / I’m gonna look her straight in the eye / Man I got no reason to hide / But I’ve got to let you know / That the world’s not set in stone / And I called to say hello / There’s no need to be alone / People say it’s all in my mind / When you gonna give me a sign? / Why you gotta bring up the past? / Girl, we got a love made to last”.
Why didn’t anyone say anything, for crying out loud? “Er, Liam lad, no offence but you’re about as convincing a lyricist as Delia Smith would be a boxing promoter.” That’s all it would have taken to prevent a potentially fine record from relegating itself into irrelevance.
In other words, the plate of humble pie is drawn closer with one hand and pushed away by the other. That’s a shame, for – as we did with KT Tunstall’s new one – we’d gladly have gobbled it.
BE is out now on Beady Eye Records.
Rocksucker says: Two and Half Quails out of Five!