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Assuming that you’ve somehow managed to avoid the considerable column inches devoted to Liam Gallagher’s ‘new’ project, the premise is thus: Noel quits Oasis in 2009, leaving the remaining members - including touring drummer Chris Sharrock - to regroup. Bassist Andy Bell moves back into the more familiar role of guitarist alongside Gem Archer. Meanwhile, sessionplayers are recruited for live bass and keyboards. One slightly silly band name later and the wheels are ready to roll…
In the fine tradition of bands that rise Phoenix-like from the dying embers of greatness, are Beady Eye New Order to Oasis’ Joy Division? Or are they merely David Van Day's Bucks Fizz Show for anorak-wearing 30-somethings still feelin’ Supersonic?
Steve Lillywhite’s production job is a crisp ‘60s stew that recalls (inevitably) The Beatles, The Who, and Satanic Majesties-era Rolling Stones. So far, so Oasis. Yet despite gushing four-star reviews in major mainstream music publications, we can’t help getting the impression that Different Gear, Still Speeding is the sound of a vehicle on bricks in a cul-de-sac.
Sure, Liam’s unmistakable sneer is still a formidable force in the recording studio, but a solid backing band and planet-sized self belief are no substitute for the kind of mass-communion through song that melts the hearts of 80,000 inebriated football hooligans in a muddy field. While Noel’s output in the last decade has rarely scaled the same heights as his mid-nineties peak, too many songs on Different Gear, Still Speeding feel like outtakes that would never have seen the light of day on The Chief’s watch.
If Beady Eye are to carve a place in the nation’s heart then it’s the rousing glam stomp of Bring The Light that shows the way - white knuckle piano and female backing vocals at least indicate a willingness to wriggle free of Britpop’s child restraints and find that elusive different gear. Chris Vinnicombe