Gary Flockhart - Music Matters

I HAVE tuppence worth on Noel Gallagher to offer and whether or not you agree comes down to your level of adoration for him. After all, some say the former Oasis man has always been overrated, while others adore the Mancunian so much they’d probably mistake his dandruff for cocaine.

Anyway, here it is: any argument that Noel is Britain’s best songwriter died a long time ago. It died because he’s only ever written two great albums, the last one coming 16 years ago. It died because every Oasis album since then has been a big disappointment by comparison. It died because there are countless musicians - Thom Yorke, PJ Harvey, Morrissey, Alex Turner, to pick a few - who consistently trump him in the songwriting department.

And the argument stays dead because High Flying Birds, Noel’s debut solo offering, is another let down.

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Don’t get me wrong, the record is no stinker. It has some nice tunes, though there’s no question of any of them replacing the likes of Cigarettes & Alcohol, Supersonic and Wonderwall on karaoke machines any time soon.

The most disappointing thing is that when finally recording the solo record he’s always threatened to make, Noel didn’t take the chance to move out of his comfort zone. There is no risk-taking or experimentation.

In short, High Flying Birds sounds exactly as I feared it would - a lot like a collection of Oasis B-sides.

Noel has revealed a second solo album has been recorded and will be released in 2012. Here’s hoping he took a few more risks on that one.