90s Grunge Revival
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ album, Chasing Yesterday, shows that Gallagher has moved past the ever-so-constantly-covered “Wonderwall” from his previous gig as the co-lead singer of Oasis. Yet, Gallagher’s new album still reflects his acoustic/alternative rock roots with an array of up-tempo ballads and a lot of strumming. Since the 90s seem to keep coming back in trends, it’s not a big a surprise that Gallagher’s album has a bit of grungy grit.
Gallagher seems to mainly channel Eddie Vedder and John Lennon throughout his album. “Riverman” is one of the standout tracks on the album. It has a Pearl Jam feel to it with the somber lyrics juxtaposed against upbeat major-chord progressions. However, the occasional saxophone solos give “Riverman” a modern, mixed genre aspect to it. “The Girl with X-ray Eyes” reflects Gallagher’s 60s music influence. The intro has a chord progression reminiscent of “Stairway to Heaven,” while the haunting echoes and phaser effects bring “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” to mind.
Yet, Gallagher is clearly experimenting with his sound on this album. While some songs seem like they would fit perfectly in a Dave Matthews Band and Counting Crows playlist, others drift to more of an eclectic, atmospheric indie sound. Some tracks, like “The Song Remains The Same” blend the best of both worlds by beginning with a hazy synth and then transitioning into Gallagher’s comfort zone of acoustic rock. “You Know We Can’t Go Back” is more pop and catchy. “The Mexican” and “The Right Stuff” appeal more to the alternative rock crowd that would tune in to The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys. Gallagher dabbles across genres on the album, much in part because this is a solo album, and he has to use it to create a fan base for himself. By targeting different audiences with a variety of sounds, he is able to aim for more diversity in his listeners. The only downside of Chasing Yesterday is that because Gallagher is drawing on different genres and placing different emotional subtexts behind his lyrics, the album doesn’t have that narrative connectivity from start to finish.