On his second solo album, Chasing Yesterday (Sour Mash Records), one time Oasis main man Noel Gallagher has progressed more than he did over the course of seven albums with his previous group. Helming production for the first time, Gallagher is not compromising, and he is not taking direction. This is a good thing.
Gallagher is not known for being adventurous, either in his songwriting or in the studio. He is now. Showing maturation right from the opener, “Riverman,” which admittedly starts like a throwback to his classic “Wonderwall,” he quickly changes course with improved vocal prowess.
It wouldn’t be Gallagher’s songwriting if at points it wasn’t overtly influenced by classic songs. David Bowie is channeled on “Girl With X-Ray Eyes,” where Gallagher gets daring with his vocal reaches. “Lock All the Doors” takes its melody lines and a snippet of lyrics from David Essex’s “Rock On.” A large chunk of Chasing Yesterday is predictable latter-day Oasis-by-numbers. But the carved out, disco-inspired “Ballad of the Mighty I” featuring Johnny Marr on guitar, is the best representation of what Gallagher could have been doing with present-day Oasis. Modern yet classic.
Recorded by Paul ‘Strangeboy’ Stacey at Strangeways Studios, London; mixed by Craig Silvey at Toast, London; strings recorded by Matt Howe at Abbey Road Studios, London; mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, NYC