With his Oasis days behind him – despite constant rumours about the band reforming – Noel Gallagher returns after three years with his second solo album and though it may contain some epic arena ballads, there is nothing new or innovative that suggests that Gallagher is trying to distance himself from the heavy rain cloud that is Oasis, something which he didn’t quite manage with his first solo record. Will Chasing Yesterday show us that Gallagher can create his own sound as a solo artist? The answer to that is unfortunately, no.
The first sign of this failure to break away from Oasis is the title of the album Chasing Yesterday which immediately suggests Gallagher wants a fix of Oasis back in his life. Sure, there are some songs which contain pristine melodies like ‘Lock All The Doors’ which is pure rock ‘n’ roll but lacks creativity and flair and this reflects the album as a whole. There are some standout tracks and you can already hear them being sung from the rooftop of any arena such as ‘In the Heat of the Moment’ and ‘You Know We Can’t Go Back’, the former especially as it has an extremely catchy vocal hook but this doesn’t save Gallagher from creating a mediocre album when he should have created one that would define him as a solo artist.
This lack of musical diversity on Chasing Yesterday is really disappointing, especially from someone who is extremely talented and has been in one of the most successful bands of all time. Gallagher has tried to incorporate some different grooves that have a slight psychedelic feel about them such as ‘The Right Stuff’ but then there are songs like ‘Girl with X-Ray Eyes’ which feels like a second hand ‘Masterplan’. Even an appearance from former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr does nothing to improve the album.
Chasing Yesterday could have been the album that showed everyone the true depth of Noel Gallagher’s talent and musicianship. Instead the album is lacklustre and in a world where small bands are crying out for key influences, the album is just uninspiring. Those bands might as well bypass Gallagher’s solo stuff and just listen to Oasis. Overall it just lacks creativity and feels like it has no heart.