Sticking to the script would be an accurate, if slightly undemonstrative description of Noel Gallagher’s latest outing under his High Flying Birds solo project. If his first record could be seen as an extension of Oasis’ later years, then the aptly titled follow up most assuredly harks back to the band’s glory period. There is certainly no escaping that the bulk of the album sounds like it could’ve been recorded in the mid ’90s but, despite the notable perpetuation, Chasing Yesterday still gives the impression of an artist not so much evolving as carving out a distinct identity.
Whereas his 2011 eponymous debut seemed to somewhat veer off the beaten path as he came to terms with being a solo artist, this feels much more acceptant of both his strengths and limitations, with the now 47 year-old treating us to some of his best work in years. Yes the chord patterns remain symmetrical, song structures simplistic, and lyrics rather light-weight, but bluesy garage anthems like ‘In The Heat of The Moment’, ‘The Mexican’, and ‘The Ballad of the Might I’ emphasise exactly what Gallagher does best, namely fetching hooks and enduring melodies.
Add in a splash of creativity, such as the jazzy arrangements and cascading rhythms of ‘Riverman’ and ‘The Right Stuff’, and the steady balance of reminiscent ballads like ‘The Dying of Light’, and ‘While The Song Remains the Same’ and you get the feeling an autonomous Noel has finally managed to created the album he always wanted, rather than the one that was expected of him. As a founding member of a band known more for their superfluous longevity and occasional belligerence rather than their originality, Gallagher remains typically unperturbed by his critics, comfortable with his own authenticity as an artist, and confident in his ability to make a good record. On Chasing Yesterday he has accomplished both.