IF LIAM'S As You Were was about getting back to basics, Noel's album - arriving only weeks after Our Kid's - is all for defying expectations and pushing into previously unexplored territories.
Opener 'Fort Knox' is a sonic assault of programmed drumbeats, wordless singing, soul/rave chants, siren like ambient wails, and ringing alarms, with scarcely a guitar nor a Beatles inspired chord in earshot. This is the Chief declaring all bets are off.
It is also one of four instrumentals on the album, each designed as 'soundtracks for imaginary movies' (hence such titles as 'Interlude' and 'End Credits' ), and revealing the unexpected influence of David Alxelrod. More surprises are in store with the dark urban soul of 'Keep On Reaching' and the gritty, atmospheric, funk of 'Be Careful What You Wish You' - possibly the coolest guitar riff Noel's ever written.
Slightly more familiar territory is 'Holy Mountain' with its huge chorus, glam rock stomp, and nod to David Bowie's 'Diamond Dogs', but again, guitars are relegated to the sidelines as the frantic beat is driven by the drums, fizzing keyboards, and wind instruments. Guitar does predominate on the chiming riff for the psychedelic indie of 'Black & White Sunshine' - another highlight - and watch here for a nod to the Stones' 'Start Me Up'.
What is distinctly Noel is the larger than life, massive wall of sound permeating the album, but really, this is Gallagher snr as we have never heard him before.