Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – ‘Black Star Dancing’ EP review

Score

Noel's not tethered by anything – least of all your expectations – on this escapist collection that combines, yes, cosmic pop and (brace yourselves) even a little sea shanty

Last year, Noel Gallagher revealed that he’d found the ‘space rock’ album he made with production duo Amorphous Androgynous, once thought lost. Like most things, it turned up in a sock drawer. The original masters were destroyed becaUse he found the record too “underwhelming”, but he did release the sprawling psych gem ‘Shoot A Hole Into The Sun’. The rest will probably never see the light of day, but his space-faring spirit remains intact on this five-track EP.

If, like Liam, you’re not into your “cosmic pop shite”, you might find something you like on the other further two EPs Noel has coming this year, one of which, the Chief claims, is “more Mancunian”. But for now, we’re off looking for life out there. Grab your binoculars, come follow me.

Dubbed “dope” by none other than Nile Rodgers, title track ‘Black Star Dancing’ sparkles with shimmering synths and a scorching solo in tribute to David Bowie’s ‘Fashion’ over a four-to-the-floor beat. With a stomping foot and one very thick eyebrow raised, this is the disco dad left-turn from the one man you’d never imagine dancing, even under duress at a wedding.

Into it? You’re in luck: the EP contains two more versions. The ’12” Mix’ just adds a touch more disco drama atmosphere, while ‘The Reflex Revision’ is a somewhat unnecessary 10 bloody minutes long, but does well to add breathing space and explore each individual aspect of the subtleties of Noel’s newfound groove. It’s not taking him back to the dizzying, kaleidoscopic shades of his work with The Chemical Brothers and you shouldn’t expect it to drop on a Yates’ dancefloor any time soon, but it makes for one funky fucker of a mood-piece.

‘Rattling Rose’ lures you in with some traditional acoustic guitar and a driving Americana rhythm, before blooming into a sci-fi carnival breakdown. Noel’s voice sounds as silky as he ever has as he croons, “She took a cruise on the mothership and she never came home – when you come along, we’re gonna run away”. That marriage of soulful indie and a sweet groove harks back to Doves’ early work. After the sound of rainfall subsides, ‘Sail On’ swoons with that immediately relatable simplicity of Noel’s most powerful acoustic moments – but this time with a (no kidding) folk sea shanty vibe.

Keep an eye on Twitter for Liam calling this “Fookin’ Fisherman’s Friends sheeiiite” any day now. But there’s an escapist charm here that’s echoed through all of Noel’s post-Oasis work. “Tell the girl behind the counter that I loved her but soon I must be gone,” he pines, always craving freedom. “Tell the world I’m going to miss them but I’ve got to find a place where I belong”. He’s not anchored by anything, least of all your expectations.

Details

Release date: June 14
Record label: Sour Mash Records