On the last outing, Beady Eye were just ‘Liam Gallagher’s new band’. Liam had come up with some exciting new material with his new mates, but we knew it was never going to be Oasis-standard even before we heard it. A victim of his own success, Liam’s first offering since ‘the tiff’ Different Gear, Still Speeding was never going to surpass what the Super Gallagher Bros. had done previously.
Second album in, this isn’t the case. BE is experimental, rejuvenating, a reincarnation for Liam. No longer is the battle between Liam’s new band and Noel Gallagher’s Flying what’s-their-faces. They’re not even Liam’s band anymore; they’re Beady Eye, disassociating themselves with Oasis’ dirty, successful past. The hype’s over; now they’re having fun.
BE’s production is sublime and where the fun lies. This is no less apparent in opener ‘Flick of the Finger’, a brass-heavy, polished opening piece adorned with distorted spoken word ready to set your ears alight with inspiration. Lead single ‘Second Bite of the Apple’ is similar, but mixes the prowess of epic brass with the enigmatic and mysterious; at first listen it’s odd, but magical. The wizardry of this production ensures this musical piece is perfectly crafted, like Beady Eye are explicitly saying, “We’re back and we’re better, have you missed us?”
Acute craftsmanship is unmistakable in the songwriting as well. A particular diamond in this jewellery box is the serenity-inducing ‘Don’t Brother Me’, three minutes of intoxicating bliss followed by four of instrumental sorcery. Also sparkling is happy-go-lucky sing-a-long ‘Iz Rite’, the tribal ‘Shine a Light’, fusing ritual drumming with romantic, waltzing breakdowns, and the effortless ‘I’m Just Saying’, perfect for an open-top car ride at sunset.
Whilst Beady Eye were Different Gear, Still Speeding with their last album, their second offering slows down at the end. 15 tracks long, BE finishes its last six winding down. But it makes the album’s pace lackluster; you feel like Beady Eye are dragging it out a bit. ‘The World’s Not Set in Stone’, the liveliest one of the bunch, puts a mild smile on your face. ‘Ballroom Figured’ attempts to transport you to a deserted, nostalgic dance hall, but they just don’t put enough effort in to create the right atmosphere. Final tracks ‘Back after the Break’ and ‘Off at the Next Exit’ seem to merge into each other, passing you by. These songs could be cut, and fans wouldn’t miss out if this album was just a tad shorter.
Having said that, most of the time Beady Eye are majestic. They explore places no one ever thought they would, and have transformed into a band of their own right, not just a side-effect of another Gallagher brothers domestic.