Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher and his band, the High Flying Birds, have released their 2nd studio album titled Chasing Yesterday. The album was written and produced by Noel and recorded last year at Strangeways and Abbey Road Studios in London.
The primary musicians on the album feature Noel Gallagher and Paul Stacey on a number of instruments, Jeremy Stacey on drums, Mike Rowe on keyboards, and The Wired Strings on strings. Multiple backing vocalists are also included on various tracks.
The most noticeable element about Chasing Yesterday are how the songs seamlessly flow from one to the next. There's a smart balance between straight up rock songs and the more relaxed tunes. You don't feel like you're getting hit over the head constantly with loud guitars and fast tempos. Helping these transitions is the wonderful addition of backing vocals, keyboards, and horns.
If an energized rock style is what you're looking for, then check out the songs "In the Heat of the Moment," "Lock All the Doors," and "The Mexican." You'll find that these tunes have tight grooves, top-notch musicianship, and an edgy attitude about them. Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr appears on "Ballad of the Mighty I," another track full of life and delicately placed strings and keys.
Acoustic underpinnings are found in "Riverman" and "The Right Stuff," and the addition of sax and bass clarinet playing from Jim Hunt really shine and add a warm, almost jazzy sound reminiscent of classic '70s material from Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones. These spacier songs are a couple of the unexpected highlights on the album.
If a relaxed, mid-tempo rhythm is your style, then "The Girl With X-Ray Eyes," "While the Song Remains the Same," and "The Dying of the Light" are up your alley. Skillful keyboard notes, atmospheric synths, and soaring vocals from Noel stand out on these tracks, and help to give a chill vibe.
Chasing Yesterday shows Noel Gallagher's abilities as a songwriter and producer, proof that he doesn't need to ride on the wave on his former band's success. Speaking about the album's title, Chasing Yesterday, Gallagher had a typically insightful and hilarious perspective when the announcement came:
Effectively it doesn't really have a title, I couldn't really come up with a title for it and every time I did somebody would say to me that's fucking shit. I literally came up with it last week but it'll have to do for now, if I could change it I would change it... If I could stick an album out with a plain white sticker on it and say ''Call it what you want'' I would.
While Gallagher may not achieve the success and impact that Oasis had in the '90s, he's crafted a style of rock that's fresh and not overbearing. The opening to "Riverman" may sound a lot like the opening to "Wonderwall," but this doesn't sound like he's trying to make an Oasis album. "While The Song Remains The Same" is a nod to Led Zeppelin, and what it means to sustain a long career making rock music while balancing creativity with identity.
The Deluxe Version of Chasing Yesterday includes four songs, "Do The Damage," "Revolution Song," "Freaky Teeth," and a Toydrum remix of "In the Heat of the Moment."
For the latest music, news, and tour information on Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, check out their Zumic artist page.