Review: Liam Gallagher struts his stuff on ‘As You Were’
Liam Gallagher, “As You Were” (Warner Bros.)
As swaggering frontman of 1990s British titans Oasis, Liam Gallagher understood that rock stardom is three-quarters attitude — and, in his case, one quarter love of The Beatles.
Gallagher’s burning bravado fuels his solo debut “As You Were,” an invigorating rock ‘n’ roll record that shows he remains cheerfully in thrall to the Fab Four.
Oasis’ songs were largely written by older brother Noel Gallagher, and Liam’s solo effort is missing that input, as well as the volatile sibling rivalry that gave Oasis performances a distinct frisson.
But the album, written by Gallagher with in-demand songwriters including Adele collaborator Greg Kurstin, makes sharp use of his strengths. The strut, the sneer and the soft-centered love of a good tune are all on prominent display.
Gallagher’s nasal voice is still among the most distinctive in music, and it’s deployed on hooky tracks produced with robust sizzle, crunch and thump. There are fuzzy guitars, woozy harmonies, horns, handclaps — even a “Sgt. Pepper”-style fanfare on “When I’m in Need.”
Lyrically, Gallagher offers plenty of aggressive attitude (“You think I’m giving up/I gotta rhino hide”) alongside hints of a new maturity for the 45-year-old singer. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry for the hurt” he sings on “For What it’s Worth.”
He also indulges in some cringe-inducing rhyming couplets, though the punchy single “Wall of Glass” pleasingly rhymes “one direction” with “resurrection.”
“You Better Run” pairs “gimme shelter” and “helter skelter,” managing to namecheck songs by both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
That’s the thing about “As You Were.” You could see it as 1960s pastiche in modern-day packaging. But it’s done with such brazen verve that many listeners won’t care.