Released under his personal label, Sour Mash records, the 10-track album has been hailed by Telegraph UK as the “best collection of Noel Gallagher tunes since his ‘Morning Glory’ days”. With all the rave reviews and positivity towards the record, UrbanWire had to get copy of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and here’s what we think about it.

Taking lead vox duties is nothing new to Noel, with him being responsible for the voice behind Oasis hits such as Don’t Look Back In Anger. He also has often carrying out lead singer duties when his brother, Liam, fails to show up for an Oasis gig, providing the elder of the two brothers some vocal credibility for his solo venture.

Going in a different direction from the “Wall of Sound” that Oasis took, Noel, coined The Chief by his fans, takes a more mellow style in High Flying Birds, often featuring choral and orchestral layers alongside clean guitar tracks, a huge contrast from the over-compressed fuzzed-out guitar-centric tones that were synonymous with Oasis.

Photos courtesy of Will Fresch & Universal Music Singapore.

The album starts off with a instrumental ala Oasis’s album Standing on the Shoulders of Giants intro track, F*@ing in The Bushes. But instead of a myriad of distorted guitars accompanied with thumping drum and bass lines, Everybody’s On The Run features a heart-tugging mix of choral, brass and strings in the introduction before Noel jumps in with a soaring first line. The song then inclines towards an acoustic guitar approach, accompanied by Noel’s rich and throaty voice as he passionately reaches the chorus – “Hang in there love/you gotta hold on/ ‘cause everybody’s on the run,” conveying strong notions of desperation in an almost begging-like manner.

Fading into the next track (an aspect found throughout the album) in a melding Pink Floyd-esque fashion, Dream On bursts in with a cheery, thumping drumbeat and chiming acoustics. Horns are introduced in this energetic track, and in several other tracks on the album, and fit surprisingly well in this Rock ‘n’ Roll anthem. The song well incorporate the aggression often found in his works with Oasis, sans Liam.

The first single from the self-titled album, Death of You and Me, showcases a bigger range to The Chief’s often-safe singing, with frequent falsettos being sung in this laid-back composition. Eerily resembling Oasis’s The Importance of Being Idle, the single features a New Orleans-style horn section that helps evoke a cabaret circus setting, which gives it a somewhat mischievous yet mysterious mood.

Noel certainly sticks true to his signature songwriting formula of anthem-like lyrics mixed with overly repeated two-to-four barred phrases, sing-along choruses and simple rhythms meant for universal appreciation, a style which critics have labeled as “NoelRock”, which he has undoubtedly honed from his love for 60’s bands such as The Beatles and The Kinks.

Having been responsible for composing some of the most important guitar solos of the 90’s in songs such as Champagne Supernova and Supersonic amongst many others, it may come as a surprise that the first guitar solo on the album only comes in on the 6th track, AKA… What a Life!, with only one other solo being featured in its entirety.

Despite Noel testing the boundaries on corny lyrics, such as the “La-la-la” sing-along in Dream On and “Oh me, oh my/ So long baby bye-bye” in (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach, he convincingly expresses an array of emotions through his vocal work and lyric construction. With lines such as “Drowning, I’m sinking in the quicksand/Stranded on the wrong beach/Come and rescue me”, once again from (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach and,“You’ve been drifting and stealing/Try to walk in my shoes/But they don’t belong to you” from Everybody’s On The Run, feelings of desperation to joy to anger and everything in-between can easily be found and understood in the master composers carefully crafted lyrics.

With the mix of Rock ‘n’ Roll with orchestral elements, it’s evident that Noel has headed towards a Baroque-pop style, which comes as no surprise as many of his musical influences come from that genre. However, the toned-down approach taken straight off from first track, sets the theme for the album, leaving his debut efforts somewhat monotonous at times, without any memorable highs that were prominent in his back catalogue with Oasis.


Album Details

  • Artiste: Noel Gallagher
  • Album Name: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  • Rating (out of 5): 3.5/5
  • Language: English
  • Genre: Baroque Rock
  • Record Label: Sour Mash Records
  • Release date: Oct 17


  1. Everybody’s on the Run
  2. Dream On
  3. If I Had a Gun
  4. Death of You and Me
  5. (I Wanna Live in a Dream in my) Record Machine
  6. AKA… What a Life!
  7. Soldier Boy and Jesus Freaks
  8. AKA… Broken Arrow
  9. (Stranded on) the Wrong Beach
  10. Stop the Clocks