Noel Gallagher says the Robert Smith remix of High Flying Birds’ Pretty Boy “sounds exactly like The Cure”

Noel Gallagher and Robert Smith
(Image credit: Kate Green/Getty Images; Burak Cingi/Redferns)

Noel Gallagher has been speaking about the forthcoming release of High Flying Birds’ new album, Council Skies, and promises that the deluxe CD edition will be of special interest to Cure fans with the inclusion of Robert Smith’s remix of Pretty Boy.

Pretty Boy was the second single shared by Gallagher ahead of the album’s 2 June release through Sour Mash Records, and speaking to Huw Stephens of BBC Radio Wales, Gallagher says as soon as he was writing the track he recognised the parallels to The Cure

And he’s right, right? There’s the nocturnal vibe, the post-punk bass guitar that recalls Seventeen Seconds-era Cure, propulsive and direct. That’s why it made perfect sense for Gallagher’s people to call Smith’s people and make a collaboration happen for disc two on a deluxe edition that finds an instrumental version of Pretty Boy sitting alongside a Pet Shop Boys remix of Think Of A Number and a David Holmes remix of I’m Not Giving Up Tonight.

“Pretty Boy as it was unfolding became reminiscent of the golden age of The Cure,” Gallagher said. “And it was just one of those crazy ideas that one tends to have in the middle of the night, thinking, ‘I wonder if Robert Smith [would] get involved. I wonder if I can get hold of him.’”

This being Noel Gallagher, he could indeed get a hold of him. What followed was an example of the simple physics of pop-cultural arithmetic: if you give Robert Smith a track that reminds you of The Cure when you sent it, you’ll receive something that sounds just like The Cure in return.

“I asked if he’d get involved and sent him the track and he loved it,” Gallagher said. “He did the remix. And I loved it. I’d never met him before. I’d never conversed with him. But I was always a fan of the Cure and the remix sounds exactly like the Cure. Yeah, it turns out he is a bit of a dude!’”

Gallagher does not say whether or not Smith contributes any vocals on the remix but having caught The Cure’s triumphant sets at London’s O2 Arena last December, he said Smith’s voice is in fine shape.

“They were amazing,” he said. “I like the more modern stuff as well. It’s just kind of dark and moody. But his voice is just far out. He sounds as good now as he did 30 years ago. Amazing.”

You can check out the full interview with Gallagher above. Council Skies (opens in new tab) is available to preorder now, and hits record stores and streaming on 2 June. 

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.