The Liam we know and love may be lost forever.
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Released: 6th October 2017
As you were. Three words it feels like we’ve heard for eternity. A phrase that’s become so ingrained in tweets and assorted social media posts that it’s easy to forget there’s an album attached to it and there’s rather a lot riding on it.
Yes, Liam Gallagher’s redemption trail has been long and winding, but ultimately, the music is what counts. It’s put up or shut up for music’s most notorious big mouth.
It’s odd then that his solo debut ‘As You Were’ is short on bluster and swagger, or the sort of intense, in-your-face aggression that Liam is famed for.
Instead, he seems to have gone for the softly, softly “Hey, I’m a serious songwriter too” vibe on an album that lacks conviction. The shadow of a certain potato-featured sibling hangs heavy.
Things start gloriously though with certified banger, ‘Wall Of Glass’. It’s a bonafide hit that heralds the beginning of the album with the same kind of excitement we all felt when Liam returned to the stage for the first time by himself on that early summer night in Manchester.
The reason it’s so exciting is that it packs a genuine punch. You can audibly hear a fired up and snarling Liam up for the fight. What follows is rather more limp and submissive.
The songs aren’t strictly bad; it’s more that they’re not really Liam. The voice sounds familiar, and the sound uses the same tricks you’ve heard over the years, but it doesn’t feel right.
The album was written with a hodgepodge of different people and features prominent production by uber pop writer and producer Greg Kurstin; the result is a collection of nice enough songs that leave Liam’s personality and grit only slightly hinted at or absent completely.
In the right hands and with the right approach some of these songs could blossom into monsters. ‘Greedy Soul’ would make a punk rock banger if it were recorded by ‘Definitely Maybe’-era 1994 Oasis, while ‘Universal Gleam’ would be a sparkling anthem if it was sprinkled with some shiny songwriterly fairy dust. On the album though they sound lumpen and severely lacking in a bit of oomph.
Liam has undoubtedly stepped up his vocal game following a few ropey years; ‘For What It’s Worth’ is the strongest and sweetest he’s sounded in years. The problem is it merely suggests what might have been if the last decade had turned out slightly differently.
Heading into making ‘As You Were’ there’s no doubt Liam was at his lowest ebb following the split of Beady Eye and years of negative press. In coming back so prominently and reminding people that he’s still Liam Gallagher, the comeback can be considered a success – that is until you listen to the album and realise that the Liam we know and love may be lost forever. Maybe there’s someone out there who can coax him out? Martyn Young