Beady Eye, much like Oasis, seem to be a frustratingly inconsistent band. Their debut album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, was a brilliant slab of Beatles / Oasis / Velvet Underground sounding tunes, and while not overly original (hell, there’s some blatant pilfering in places) it was the most rockingly enjoyable thing either Gallagher brother had put out since Be Here Now. It really broke the mould of what a lot of people expected from Liam Gallagher after Noel stopped writing his tunes, and Beady Eye established its own identity.
The second Beady Eye album, BE, alas does not hold up as well as the first. The biggest disappointment is that the songs lack any great hooks. BE is a really interesting listen, without any memorable songs or melodies. There’s nothing that grabs you by the scruff of the neck like ‘Four Letter Word’ or ‘The Roller’. The songs on BE blend into each other and become the background to what you’re doing, rather than demanding that you sit up and pay attention.
On closer inspection, there are some interesting things going on. There are subtle electronica influences in ‘Soul Love’, and ‘Flick Of The Finger’ has spoken word guest vocals from actor Kayvan Novak. ‘Don’t Brother Me’ (see what they did there?) is very obviously aimed at Noel Gallagher, asking him to ‘be a man’ and ‘give peace a chance’; if the music press is anything to go by Liam would usually be the one throwing the barbs, not offering the peace pipe.
I was really looking forward to the band expanding on what they’d established with Different Gear, Still Speeding, but BE unfortunately hasn’t really done that. It isn’t a bad record, it’s just not as good as some of the records the band members have released in the past. Don’t forget these guys were in Oasis, and Andy Bell was also one of the song writing forces in Ride. The quality of the lyrics really doesn’t help these songs penetrate; every second line reads like a cheap throw-away cliché, and Liam Gallagher’s vocal phrasing rarely varies throughout the record. Oasis’s lyrics were sometimes described in the same way, but Noel Gallagher wrote such amazing melodies that it often didn’t matter.
BE is a pleasant sounding record, but given Beady Eye’s collective musical history I doubt they’d be satisfied with that as an assessment – I’m sure these songs will have a lot more teeth live, but the production here pulls them towards a more laid-back, AOR sound. Maybe it’s a grower? I hated Heathen Chemistry when it first came out, but it ended up being one of my favourite later-day Oasis albums. Then again, if you’re not already a Beady Eye fan you might be better off starting with Different Gear, Still Speeding.
Rating: 6 out of 10
By: Clint Morrow