Sax Solos And Space Jazz: Will Noel Gallagher’s New Album Please Fans? First Track Verdict

From ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’ to living in one’s inescapable shadow, wherever Noel Gallagher goes, he’s stalked by the same question: when’s the Oasis reunion? On his 2011 re-emergence as a solo artist, he did his best to outrun the Manc heroes’ legacy, dotting his solo debut with dusty Ennio Morricone brass and Kinksy melodies, all the while talking up a new (still yet to surface) venture into spooky freakbeat with psych-specialists Amorphous Androgynous. The record was a critical success, but did little to quieten those clamouring for the Britpop giants’ return.

All of which makes you wonder if naming his new album ‘Chasing Yesterday’ is some kind of white flag: a knowing concession he’ll never hit the heady heights of his former band alone. There’s even a song on the track listing that smirks at critics claiming his songwriting’s struggled to evolve since the ‘90s: ‘While The Song Remains The Same’. First single ‘In The Heat Of The Moment’ doesn’t sound like surrender though, even if it does embrace Oasis’ stadium-ready guitar grind, chant-along vocals and defiant sneer: “They tell me you’ve touched the face of God,” Noel sings like a man laughing as he’s led to the gallows, “the sound of a rope cracking on your neck.”

The press release claims ‘Chasing Yesterday’ will boast everything from “West Coast rock to classic rock’n’roll and even some space jazz,” with one song climaxing in a wild saxophone solo (“please, don’t think about the guy from Spandau Ballet,” begs Noel). Till then, ‘In The Heat Of The Moment’ is a more straight-forward fan-pleaser: not an attempt to escape Oasis’ shadow, but a cool, determined bask in its shade.

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