Album reviews: Noel Gallagher and Dr Feelgood

Noel Gallagher.

Noel Gallagher.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds - Chasing Yesterday (Sour Mash )

PART OF the fun of a Noel Gallagher album - solo or Oasis - is spotting the influences, and in fairness the Manchester-Irish songwriter has always worn them on his sleeve.

Opening track, the sombre, yet majestic, ‘Riverman’ nods to Nick Drake in its title, but musically it is self-referential, underpinned by an acoustic chord progression familiar from ‘Wonderwall’ or ‘It’s Better People’. Its mid-section though, while indebted to Pink Floyd, is unlike anything else in Noel’s catalogue, with its spacey guitar/saxophone interplay.

Also most un-Noel like are the languid brass and rhythms of ‘The Right Stuff’, which resurrects the spirit of early noughties loungecore. It vies for position as the album’s best song with ‘In The Heat Of The Moment’, a soaring track, whose percussive effects have a ring of inspiration to them.

Riff centred rocker ‘The Mexican’ comes close to that standard, while ‘The Girl With X-Ray Eyes’ is a knowing Ziggy-era Bowie homage. Outside of these, the remaining five songs are solid, but pedestrian, weighing the album down and preventing it reaching the same heights as its eponymous predecessor.

Dr Feelgood - I’m A Man The Best Of The Wilko Johnson Years 1974 - 1977 (Parlophone )

Dr Feelgood

ALTHOUGH THEY scored their biggest hit, ‘Milk and Alcohol’ after he left, the definitive Dr Feelgood will always be Wilko Johnson’s jerky, scratchy, guitar accompanying Lee Brilleaux’s ‘don’t mess with this geezah’ vocals.

The prime British pub-rockers of the mid-seventies, the Canvey Island quartet’s rough, stripped down, hard rocking, exciting, blues/r’n’b paved the way for punk, as evidenced by this collection which features the classic tracks like ‘Roxette’, ‘Keep It Out Of Sight’, the magnificent ‘Sneaking Suspicion’, and a thrilling take on blues standard ‘Rolling and Tumbling’, which wisely discards the reverence with which British bands previously performed it. Of the live tracks, the pick is a full blooded cover of Bo Diddley’s ‘I’m A Man’, sung by Wilko. Although why the lightweight ‘Everybody’s Carrying A Gun’ is included at the expense of songs like ‘She Does It Right’ is a mystery.

The 1975 debut, Down By The Jetty, remains the essential Dr Feelgood document, but The Strypes’ legions of young fans, excited by their Dr Feelgood indebted r’n’b, will find in this compilation an excellent introduction to the Cavan quartet’s heroes.

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