Liam v Noel Gallagher: Round two (or is it 42?)

In one corner, the Beady Eye singer. In the other, a bloke on a stool with a guitar. The brothers battle for your attention ...

Liam Gallagher has been unfairly maligned. Barely a week goes by without someone having a pop at his loutish boorishness or patented Manc swagger. Only this morning, his brother Noel admitted “I hadn’t had enough of Oasis, I’d had enough of Liam” – a sentiment possibly shared by millions who bought Oasis’ era-defining Definitely Maybe but who have yet to be tempted by Beady Eye. Meanwhile, news of Noel’s imminent solo album, High Flying Birds, seems to have sent Twitter into something approaching meltdown, suggesting a forthcoming battle between the Gallaghers for the nation’s hearts may be a bigger ruckus than the one where Noel attacked Liam with a cricket bat, or the one where Liam precipitated Noel’s exit from Oasis by attacking him with a guitar.

Is Noel really that much more interesting than Liam? It’s starting to resemble the old Simon and Garfunkel situation where fans had their loyalties stretched between the one who wrote the songs, and the one who made a better job of signing them. For me, Liam makes the better rock star. Noel’s live gigs to date have involved a bloke, a stool and a guitar, which admittedly may be all you need when you’ve written a song such as Don’t Look Back in Anger (or, indeed, the lesser-known Rockin’ Chair, my own personal favourite Oasis track.

But even now, to see the younger Gallagher, Liam, preening, posturing and singing his heart out in front of a packed crowd is to experience the increasingly rare thrill of primal rock’n’roll. And while Beady Eye’s album may not have been a Definitely Maybe, it had its moments, some better than anything Oasis had done for donkeys.

Which is where things get interesting, because according to insiders, Noel has been stockpiling his best songs for years. Indeed, one of them, I Want to Live in a Dream in a Record Machine, dates from Oasis’ sessions for Dig Out Your Soul. But seems to have mysteriously been pulled at the last minute. Both Gallaghers have long been accused of being musically conservative, but Noel is planning two solo albums (one a collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous, the former genre-busting Future Sound of London), and the mind may boggle at the prospect of his recordings with the Crouch End Festival Chorus – an orchestra founded in 1984 – or New York-based the Wired Strings, 30 musicians who have collaborated with everyone from Massive Attack to Barry White to, er, Stereophonics and the Spice Girls.

Perhaps, like Simon and Garfunkel, it’s a shame such a historically important pairing can no longer work together, but then Oasis had been in decline for years. Conversely, we may just get one Gallagher you’d want to see live, and another to play at home. Or you may decide you’ve had enough of them, and listen to something entirely different. Your opinions on the “new” Noel track please ...


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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