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Beady Eye
BE Emily Mackay , June 10th, 2013 07:16

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What's depressing about Beady Eye's second album – the moment when, if they're serious about this venture, they really ought to have put their balls on the line – is the utter predictability of the way it's unfolded. Those who sputter and rail in Mr Agreeable fashion against that most reviled of ungenres, 'lad rock', wheel out their ill-thought-through righteous indignation once more, while Gallagher lovers strap themselves up for one more bout of charitably measured head-nodding. And it could've, should've been so different.

Where Gallagher Senior walked out of Oasis into instant national treasure status, Liam, penner of so few songs, genuinely had something to prove. The occasionally fun but rushed-sounding and insubstantial Different Gear, Still Speeding' didn't do it. BE was the record where he and the rest of the men formerly known as Oasis had to find their belly-fires.

The announcement that they were to be working with TV On The Radio's David Sitek boded well. Though beloved by Oasis-abhorring lovers of satisfyingly intelligent indie rock, and a former twiddler for Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Scarlett Johansson among others, Sitek's buzzing, fizzing psych-pop tapestries could have been an interesting fit for The Stonesy, bawdy roll of Beady Eye's swagger.

The fact that BE is patchy, and solid rather than surprising in its best spots, you have to put down to a failure of nerve or drive. It's not Different Gear, Still Shit, but it is nowhere near as exciting as it might have been.

Technically, the band acquit themselves well; it's a well-written, well-played album with a proud and pretty strut to it. Liam, though, should be the motor here, driving the sound to aggressive heights, putting the musical money to the mouth he's constantly bringing to his interviews. He's described Beady Eye as "more rootsy, more organic and more real" than Oasis, and this album does sound more exciting and fresher than the Dig Out Your Soul era. But unlike Noel's tamer solo work, it rarely sounds sure of itself, and that's its downfall.

The dark, horn-lit swirl of opener 'Flick Of The Finger', with its heavy, trouble-starting drums, promises good things, and though it's let down by the ill-fitting pretension of having Kayvan 'Fonejacker' 'Novak' read a monologue from Peter Weiss' Marat/Sade by way of Tariq Ali's Street-Fighting Years, at least it's reaching out for something. It's a promise that isn't kept, though.

Though 'Soul Love' has an ominous groove, it takes it in a disappointingly late Beatles/Lennon direction. Not disappointing because it's Lennon or the Beatles, mind, but because we've been here so often before, and for all the odd crashes and twinkles Sitek can sew into the sonic backdrop, the inert cosiness of too-well-trodden ground is unmistakable. 'Iz Rite', too, is pretty much Cast in ATP's clothing.

'Face The Crowd' tries to be in-yer-face and gutsy, perhaps partly inspired by Liam's constant avowal that he's happier back in  smaller venues staring them in the eyes, glammy handclaps adorning his weary-sounding accusation "Playing to the gallery/When you know it's time to face the crowd." It's a fun enough stringed-up space glam romp, but there's little in the way of conviction.  

'Just Sayin'' works better as a sprucing up of Oasis' moody stomping with a space-cruising, shimmery drive and a cheeky, crunchy chorus. 'Shine A Light', too, is invigorating, a ghostly 30s cinema piano intro giving in to a punch of rootsy guitar that recalls U2's 'Desire' as much as the Stones nodded to in the title.

There's more of novel interest, though, in the spooky-dooky, reverb-laden, slightly Latin rhythms of 'Second Bite Of The Apple', with its feverish tambourine and quite literally cocky lyrics animating Liam's old-school snarl for a second: ("Yes you're not wrong/She wants to know what's in your pocket"). They sound like they're fighting for it here, Liam bawling "The word is up if you're tough enough" over a bright, horn-blaring chorus.

'Soon Come Tomorrow' wastes that momentum, though, in a sweet but insubstantial tripped-out acoustic bimble, Liam wondering "What kind of love burns holes in your heart/Holes that rue deep like they'll pull you apart". He's edging towards the sort of simple emotional affect his brother can do so well with the likes of 'If I Had A Gun', but he's nowhere near it yet - especially on the extraneous drab ballad 'Ballroom Figured'.

Speaking of big bro, there's a not-so-coded message for him in 'Don't Brother Me', another sad-eyed strummer: "Did you shoot your gun/Always In the sun/with your Number One...". No fire-stoking here though - Liam's holding out an olive branch through the Hammond and listless tambourine: "I'll keep pushing/Come on now, give peace a  chance/Take my hand/Be a man".

For all the amusement and news the Gallagher spat provides, there's little doubt, after all, that they will make up. And there's little doubt what will then become of Beady Eye. Maybe that's the problem.

Much of the critical huffing that's greeted BE has hovered around the question: why should we care? Why should we care what Liam gets up to on his gardening leave before that 2015 reunion.

Well, we should have cared, because idiots hate them automatically, and there's great cultural value in a critical whipping boy. People who get worked up about Beady Eye, as opposed to just not liking or not listening to them, are people who like to be thought of as clever, and radical, and forward-thinking. Not people who are those things, but like to define themselves as those things, which is very different.

How great would it be to have a Beady Eye that were invigorated and fresh-sounding, who did find a way to let Liam prove himself, to make Oasis unnecessary, to make big, swaggering, brilliant mainstream rock music to drive morons into self-righteous frenzy all day long? It's just a real shame they fucking blew it again.

Corinna
Jun 10, 2013 11:52am

Great review, totally agree with this part especially:

"People who get worked up about Beady Eye, as opposed to just not liking or not listening to them, are people who like to be thought of as clever, and radical, and forward-thinking. Not people who are those things, but like to define themselves as those things, which is very different. "

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Jon
Jun 10, 2013 1:26pm

Spot on with the review....I find the album blase as well (though Flick of the Finger is a good tune in my estimation), but the wetting of the chops of some critics whose sole aim is simply to slag this off just for existing is unfortunate.

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Tenbenson
Jun 10, 2013 1:44pm

Yes, but it seems like you're also guilty of trying to use this record to prove a point, just like the people you rail against who just dislike it on spec. It sounds like you we're hoping it would be better so you can win some argument about "lad rock", presumably against the other Quietus writers who go to great lengths to point out how they despise it (quite correctly, in my opinion.)

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Tenbenson
Jun 10, 2013 1:46pm

In reply to Tenbenson:

Emily Mackay generally reviews indie records for this site, so is she saying that arguments about "lad rock" are "ill-thought-out righteous indignation" simply because she likes this type of music?

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JK
Jun 10, 2013 1:56pm

i heard one on the radio today with loads of spoken word at the end and it was so annoying i had to turn it off.

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Jun 10, 2013 4:54pm

"Technically, the band acquit themselves well; it's a well-written, well-played album with a proud and pretty strut to it." Isn't that what we want from Liam? The songs are good, and the production is lovely, interesting, and unobtrusive. I was hoping for something a bit more like TVOTR, but Sitek did a great job. This is one of the best albums of the year, and the best thing either Gallagher (or Andy Bell) has done since the mid 90s.

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jp
Jun 10, 2013 5:27pm

the last paragraph of the article is so very true.. "it's just a shame they fucking blew it again"
This album is so BAD BEware, wow, what a stinker.. Liams voice is so upfront and out of key you can't hear the music... This BE album might just BE the worst album ever made.
If Liam or the others were not in OASIS, this album would never be heard or accepted by any record label.. Yikes, it's so bad..

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oasisblues
Jun 10, 2013 6:05pm

In reply to JK:

wow what a great knowledge from "JK"...

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Jun 10, 2013 6:07pm

In reply to jp:

think JK and jp are the same person... butthurt Noel blinded fan who didn't even hear the album

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cedbeck
Jun 10, 2013 7:45pm

Let's keep it short and to the point. This second outing for Beady Eye may well indeed go down as the worst follow up album of all time. Every track is absolutley forgetable even though they attempt a vaguely psychedelic, lysergic ballad. We can now fully understand the genius behind OASIS, one word: NOEL .

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Jun 10, 2013 8:37pm

In reply to jp:

Liam's voice is not out of key. I do like your clever references to the album title, though. Well done!

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C
Jun 10, 2013 8:55pm

That cover's a bit of a rip of How to Dress Well's Total Loss, eh? The colour scheme and everything, tut tut...

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Jun 10, 2013 11:08pm

THEY ARE CALLED BEADY EYE!!! LOL FROM HERE TO ETERNITY

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Paul Kovacs
Jun 11, 2013 6:46am

Heard it yesterday on 6 music What a load of bollocks dullest peace of shit lyrics of a9 year old pants with shit init y

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MistyHi
Jun 11, 2013 7:34am

I didn't go much on the first album but I like this one allot. It is the perfect mixture between retro and modern. I give the album 4 stars.

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Monkey
Jun 11, 2013 9:18am

I really like this album but this review of it is probably the best I've read - it criticises the right parts without bringing down the good bits along with it. It's no classic by any means but it's an enjoyable listen if you're not looking for Dylan-esque wordsmithery. Much better than their first album and the universally adored snorefest that Noel released.

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Joe K
Jun 11, 2013 5:45pm

I haven't heard the record, but the points made here about lad rock ('ungenre' is great, by the way) are really good. When I reviewed the Stone Roses last summer, there were loads of people completely unwilling to think about the argument I was making properly because it was with reference to a lad rock band. I mean, I can't say I've been particularly impressed by what I have heard of Beady Eye, but they're very much the kind of band who some people are utterly determined not to give a chance to. It's interesting.

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Sid
Jun 11, 2013 7:25pm

I'm not exactly sure what the critics on here expected Its not mind blowing but then again, name me a recent rock n roll album that has been. It does exactly what i expected it to and it works for me. Noels dirge solo album was so disappointing considering he was the architect of all that was good in Oasis, and yet the world and their lighters loved his dross. Beady eye will never win simply because the world oves to hate Liam, and wants to mother Noel.

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Bonehead
Jun 11, 2013 7:43pm

In reply to Joe K:

Having read a few reviews of BE I don't understand the collective "people are determined to dislike Beady Eye without giving them a chance" angle- it seems quite the opposite to me. They have had more than enough chances since 1997 (Oasis not BE, but fundamentally the same thing) but over the past 15 years all of them have serious form in making dreadful music. I approached each of the last four Oasis albums prepared to forget what came before, but they are literally amongst the worst things I own and the few minutes I've heard of Beady Eye (and HighFlyingBirds for that matter) are no exception. The amount of 'second chances I have given this group of 'musicians' (including Noel) goes someway to explaining just how influential they were on my teenage years and how much I wanted them to prove everyone wrong and be 'good', but I am now genuinely embarrassed by this whole situation. (Liam still does a vaguely interesting interview but that just isn't enough anymore for me). They've collectively wasted more than enough of everybody's time so it is surely up to them to actually do something worth talking about rather than us to give them another chance.

(apologies for the endless Noel B-side ((brackets))...)

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George Miller
Jun 11, 2013 9:22pm

In reply to JK:

If you had heard the spoken word section at the end of the song, why did you turn it off when it had finished?

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George Miller
Jun 11, 2013 9:29pm

Although I quite like the album, I enjoyed this review, because it was well-written and balanced. I'd give this album 7/10 and I think Beady Eye should keep going, keep experimenting, because this is a huge step up from the tedious debut album. It is not the album of the year, but I found it an interesting listen; Flick of the Finger is one of the best songs of 2013 so far.

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Mark
Jun 13, 2013 7:15pm

Interesting review. However, I think the reason some music fans get so worked up over Beady Eye is because they command far more press attention than such a musically derivative, lyrically inept band deserve, and Liam G so fucking arrogant with it- thus 'elevating' B.E from merely annoying to loathsome . Plus, there's some justification in deriding their (and by extension Oasis's) 'lad-rock' fan base. It isn't bourgois snobbery to take a dislike the fat man in a football shirt taking a piss on your ankles, or the bull-faced white guys shouting racist abuse at the only black man in the park, or women chanted at by swathes of blokes to 'get their 'tits out for the lads'. I have witnessed these things and more at Oasis gigs (and ONLY at Oasis gigs) in the 90's and it put me right off.

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Devonwiseowl
Jun 19, 2013 11:04pm

Maybe if Liam Gallagher could just try something different, than his boring, hands behind back, Manc style bandy legged, drawling whine, then music fans might give a toss. As it is, he is an irrelevance. Really funny that Ozzie and co kept him off the top spot (justifiably). He has become nothing more than a clothes horse. I

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scott
Jun 28, 2013 2:33am

It seems it is unfashionable to like Beady Eye because many reviews are ruthless in their critique. BE is patchy in spots, but I put the fault in sequencing. There are some very good songs on here and it is much better than a lot of rock and roll currently available. And that's the problem - rock and roll is not very sexy right now to the hipsters who write most of the reviews. History will show this group to be better than the reviews.

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mathew wedge
Jul 26, 2013 9:47am

The album is brilliant, as with many oasis albums it takes a few listens to really get into it but when you do its class. to all the fools saying its shit.....if its that shit then i challenge you to come up with something better......na thought not

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benny
Nov 26, 2013 1:28am

I've tried and tried to like this album. Even put it to one side for 5 months to see if it had aged like a fine wine. Unfortunately it's shite. I've never heard such crap in years. It's high time Liam walked away from the f'in Beatles and Stones imitation and put something original out. I'm such a huge Oasis/Gallagher fan, but these two Beady Eye albums are diabolical. He should be hung for putting such drivel out. I'm hoping BE lose their recording contract and never put out another record. Second rate band that has become a joke. Thank God for big brother!!

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