Resurgent former Oasis chief Noel Gallagher surprised quite a few listeners and critics with his excellent 2017 album ‘Who Built The Moon’. Leaving behind the well-trodden path of stadium anthems and indie rock singalongs was a smart move, which resulted in a colourful and bold record touched by shades of French pop, psychedelia and soul. While his younger brother attempts to revive the Beatles vibes and swaggering attitude of Oasis at their peak, Noel seems to be leagues ahead, offering something considerably more advanced, yet perfectly accessible. Now free to go wherever his rewarding musical tangents take him, the elder Gallagher and his High Flying Birds continue to explore new possibilities on this new EP.
Title track ‘Black Star Dancing’ turns on the funk, kicking into a hot heeled space-disco groove powered by the direct punch of its resonant bassline, while sizzling soul and synth radiate from its centre. It may seem like an initially odd choice of a single on first listen, but a few plays reveal it to be something of a grower. However, the EP’s highlight comes in the form of the stunning ‘Rattling Rose’, which entices with ghostly touches of piano topping a west coast rhythm, along with wondrous Johnny Marr-like chords, tantalising percussion and one of those powerful, yearning vocals, lifting the song into a heavenly subtle breeze of a chorus, almost effortless in its magnificence
Meanwhile, ‘Sail On’ begins with the sound of pouring rain, before launching into a heartfelt folk song not a million miles away from something the Levellers would come up with in their more reflective moments. If the music is defiantly un-Oasis, then at least the lyrics reprise that old familiar theme of escapism which played an endearing role in a lot of his old band’s material. It feels like a rather pointless exercise to feature a ’12” Mix’ of the title track which only adds an extra 17 seconds, but a far more interesting addition is the stomping ‘Reflex Revision’ remix, which removes much of the verses and rock structures, placing the whole thing smack bang in the middle of the dancefloor. It’s a little too long, and most club DJs won’t feel it necessary to play the whole thing, however it works very well for most of its length.
With more EPs of new music planned for release this year and no signs of abandoning his newfound love of diversity, the most fascinating era of Noel Gallagher’s career is well and truly underway.