Album Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – ‘Who Built The Moon?’

Name: ‘Who Built The Moon?’

Artist: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Rating: ★★★★


Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ third album ‘Who Built The Moon?’ is different, in many ways a game changer. The partnership between Noel Gallagher and producer David Holmes is clearly fruitful, though his ditching of a tired sound has made way for something unexpected, positive and entirely beautiful. Quite frankly, this is Gallagher’s best set of works in decades.

Opening with the powerful, tension building “Fort Knox,” a change in musical direction is clear from the outset. Gone is the inclusion of acoustic arena anthems only to be replaced by a well thought out, heavenly musing of instrumental complexity. Inspired by Kanye West, the first track is a sign of the productional influences which mass the album, Gallagher and Homes produced it from scratch instead of the former’s traditional process. Clearly this album boasts superior creativity in comparison to its predecessors.

“Holy Mountain” has already taken some stick for its one syllable comparison to Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.” However, the most moronic comparison in the world eventually gives way for a well defined, classic Gallagher track. It is similar yet so different to anything he has ever done in the past. Strong chorus and lyricism is no doubt present, though the inclusion of brass sections, different vocal melodies and ever changing riffs gives it all the elements of a 60s bop mixed with an 80s dance classic. Late studio nights and re-imagined creativity have no doubt created the pathway for such a change in musical direction.

“A change in musical direction is clear from the outset. “

“It’s a Beautiful World” is impressive in itself, the perfect soundtrack to long nights driving below the countryside stars. It is heavenly and includes mysterious spoken word for the english speaker. The use of tambourine and other melodic effects create a space like image for the track, though the chorus creates even more lyrical perfection. In a year where the elder Gallagher’ brother has hit headlines for the use of “Don’t Look Back In Anger” after the Manchester bombing attacks, “It’s A Beautiful World” is in many ways the perfect follow up to that.

“She Taught Me How To Fly” is a perfect ode to love, a collection of repetitive guitar riffs and unique chorus. It is in many ways danceable suiting to the likes of Blondie and New Order. All in all, the first side of this record is sensational, truly Gallagher’s best side of works since the early days of Oasis.

What is interesting about ‘Who Built The Moon?’ is the differentiating nature in which it was produced. Gone are the days of having a full band, vocal backing section and set of producers in one studio like with Oasis. Instead, the album is more of a creative diary with songs evolving over time in relation to enhancing influences. In fact, Gallagher is still yet to meet the album’s bass player, instead electing to play entirely online. There is an ever growing female presence in the band, something which the former Oasis man’s music has been begging for over the past decade or so. Many may see such a change as somewhat of a musical crisis however, it is clear that Gallagher is making music for himself and not for the legacy in which his previous band left him stranded within.

“‘Who Built The Moon?’ is by far Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ best album since its inception.”

Two broken interludes entitled “Wednesday” part 1 & 2 provide book ends for the second part of the album. “If Love Is The Law” creates a very much 70s vibe and is perhaps the closest ‘Who Built The Moon?’ gets to the previous two High Flying Birds albums. Anthemic at times though perhaps a little too arena minded. However, this is all forgotten with the mesmerising title track “The Man Who Built The Moon.” It’s the closest Gallagher has ever got to a Bond theme song and in many ways creates a dark atmosphere in which all travelling solo artists encompass at one point in a career which has now spanned into its third decade.

‘Who Built The Moon?’ is by far Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ best album since its inception. It will be interesting to see how it transcribes into the live setting. Hopefully, a little more power will come from the magical hands of Gem Archer. Ultimately, credit has to go to David Holmes for he is the mind who allowed this all to be possible. However, Noel Gallagher deserves all the success, it is an album which casts musical shadows upon his younger brother Liam. Noel truly still remains the musical genius in which he has remained throughout an entirely successful career.



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Cover art for ‘Who Built The Moon?’ By Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the record label or the graphic artist(s). Source: wiki.

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