During the slow, tortured decline of the English rock group Oasis, there were constant reports of conflict between Noel Gallagher, the band's guitarist and principal songwriter, and his younger brother Liam, who sang lead vocals. Noel watched Liam's drinking jeopardize countless performances; Liam rebelled against his controlling older sibling.
When their bickering came to a head in 2009, Noel left the group. Undaunted, the remaining members vowed to continue on with Liam at the helm. After spending a few weeks with Beady Eye, the band's supercharged new incarnation, I have a theory about Oasis' demise: Liam felt trapped inside his brother's glossy, radio-ready anthems. He really just wanted to rock.
On Different Gear, Still Speeding, the first album from Beady Eye, Liam Gallagher sounds as if he's just escaped captivity: He's wild and loose and ready to party. Having been written off as a lout for so long, Gallagher follows the example of artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, playing up his rogue side and channeling it into ripping, stomping rock 'n' roll. The songs were recorded the old-fashioned way, with everybody playing live at the same time, and you can feel it.
In the standout track "Beatles and Stones," Gallagher declares that he'll "stand the test of time" every bit as much as those two legends of British rock. Of course, this is the era of disposable stars, so some new band talking immortality is quite a stretch. But Gallagher isn't phoning anything in as he charges headfirst through these brash, surprisingly addictive songs. He comes across as a true believer, determined to make up rock's current attitude deficit all by himself.