Album review: Beady Eye’s ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’

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On his first album since the breakup of Oasis, the megapopular English band he led with his older brother Noel for nearly 20 years, Liam Gallagher seems unfazed by the challenge of living up to such global hits as “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova.” Indeed, he’s hunting bigger game: “I’m gonna stand the test of time, like Beatles and Stones,” Gallagher sings not long into the song named for those legends on the Beady Eye debut, in which he’s joined by three recent Oasis alums: Andy Bell, Gem Archer and Chris Sharrock. That “Beatles and Stones” rides a hurtling groove virtually indistinguishable from the one in “My Generation” by the Who provides some indication of Gallagher’s seriousness here. When it comes to carrying the torch for an earlier generation’s idea of rock ’n’ roll perfection, no one means as much business as Liam Gallagher.

Consider it a pleasant surprise, then, that “Different Gear, Still Speeding” — a late-model Oasis record in all but name — manages to sound as lively as it does. Opener “Four Letter Word” and “Bring the Light” bristle with punky irritation, while “Standing on the Edge of the Noise” lives up handily to its title. In the appealingly trippy “Wind Up Dream,” Gallagher even finds a suitable home for his uniformly dreadful refrigerator-magnet poetry. Inevitably, things slow down in a handful of soggy ballads, including “Kill for a Dream,” in which Gallagher informs us, “Life’s too short not to forgive / You can carry regrets but they won’t let you live.” But, hey, every guitar must eventually weep, right?


—Mikael Wood

Beady Eye
“Different Gear, Still Speeding”
Three stars