Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – ‘This Is The Place’ review: The Smiths meets ‘cosmic pop’

Score

The second of three EPs coming from The Chief in 2019, this expansive five-track record (including two remixes) sees him reject former glories

Following on from June’s Bowie-inspired ‘Black Star Dancing’, ‘This Is The Place’ is the second of three EPs you’ve got coming from The Chief in 2019. This one, in Noel Gallagher’s own words, is “a very Mancunian-sounding record”. “I can see guys in anoraks,” declared Gallagher, “nodding their heads moodily to it, while checking out each other’s Adidas trainers, [saying] ‘Where you got those from?’”

He’s not wrong. The title track, with its name borrowed from Tony Walsh’s poem in tribute to the spirit of Greater Manchester, has more than enough swagger to carry the Parka Monkeys all the way to city’s legendary indie club 42s. It picks up the space-rock (or “cosmic pop”, to use his brother’s words) thread he launched on the last EP and sends it into the future at fuck-off speed with some Stone Roses grooves propelled by proper fierce Primal Scream electro menace.

‘A Dream Is All I Need To Get By’ bittersweetly drifts by with a sad waltz reminiscent of The Smiths, as Gallagher croons, “You were talking ’bout the past / The days you said would never last / And now the future’s well behind – but I don’t pay it any mind”. This balladry is as close as Gallagher comes to his former glories, but the polished production and Technicolor textures are indication enough that he has no interest in reclaiming them. ‘Evil Flower’ completes the Manc triptych by giving a robo-disco chrome finish to some Ian Brown and Happy Mondays-style acid bounce, before two expansive remixes of the tracks by producers The Reflex and Dense & Pika show how malleable and universal Gallagher’s new groove can be.

To quote Walsh’s poem on the treasures of Manchester: “It’s ace, it’s the best and the songs that we sing, from the stands, from our bands, set the whole planet shaking”. While Gallagher’s done well to remember that, he’s gone back to his roots but taken them to strange new places. Imagine what Oasis could have been if they’d have had the bravery to match this bombast in their latter years.

Details

Release date: September 27
Record label: Sour Mash