The Last Mixed Tape reviews Who Built The Moon?, the third studio album from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
Noel Gallagher’s third outing with the High Flying Birds is his most interesting by a mile, and while the album has its flaws few could accuse Who Built The Moon? for lacking ideas. Indeed, that the record actually takes enough risks to have flaws in the first place is what makes the endeavour so worthwhile.
‘Fort Knox’ isWho Built The Moon? putting its best foot forward. From the screeching opening riffs, hip-hop influenced beat, and mantra built vocal chants the track is easily Gallagher’s best work in almost a decade. Bursting with ideas, this vivid sonic beginning spreads into the following numbers ‘Holy Mountain’ and ‘Keep On Running’. This highly stylised introduction makes a statement by dispelling any notion of Gallagher trying to recapture past glories by playing things safe.
However, this bold start to Who Built The Moon? also serves as the album’s major pitfall. Due to the heft and stylization of the aforementioned tracks, the dynamic lull that follows. although needed, takes far too long. From ‘It’s a Beautiful World’ to ‘Interlude’ the album begins to lose momentum and direction, only showing brief glimpses of the promise outlined beforehand, leaving the experimental aspects of the music to sound meandering. And while ‘If Love Is The Law’ and ‘The Man Who Built The Moon’ certainly bring things right back on course, it’s ultimately too little too late.
The strong sonic and thematic threads that run right through Who Built The Moon? are what make the record such a fun oddity within Gallagher’s work up to this point. Fueled by a willingness to shake things up, certainly in terms of his own artistic output, Who Built The Moon? is the sound of a songwriter still trying to push his own boundaries and, for the most part, succeeding.
Who Built The Moon? by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is due out on November 24th.