As You Were (deluxe edition)
Review by Jason Leigh
Post Oasis and the short-lived band Beady Eye, Liam Gallagher has returned and now releases his solo debut, As You Were, the deluxe edition containing 15 tracks.
After the initial guitar and harmonica blast of “Wall Of Glass” and “Greedy Soul”, the
album has a sequence of mellow songs before “You Better Run” and “I Get By” bring a return to Liam’s rock and roll soul. In fact, it is the sequencing that requires more work and could have been done better as there is an almost track by track alternating between rock and roll and contemplative reflection especially in the later half of the album, including the final three bonus tracks.
The sixties influence is still prominent musically especially on “For What It’s Worth” and “When I’m In Need” and he channels Bob Dylan in parts of “Come Back To Me” but otherwise the ghosts of the Beatles continue to haunt one of Manchester’s troubled sons. His referencing of sixties lyrics at times is so direct that it would be unfair to even describe them as Easter eggs (“She’s so purple haze” on “When I’m In Need” and “Happiness is still a warm gun” on “Chinatown”). The bonus tracks do not differ in quality and if I had not read that they were bonus tracks I would not have known. One of these, “Doesn’t Have To Be This Way”, stands out in that it has a chorus/refrain that could be mistaken for Tame Impala.
Inside the booklet, which if you look closely appears to represent the inner paper sleeve of a vinyl LP, the photographic artwork shows Liam in the studio, Liam in the park, Liam performing live, Liam backstage, Liam singing with his band mates… no, wait that’s four Liams singing in the same picture. In the context of the graphic design, you could be forgiven for thinking he did everything but closer inspection of the credits shows that this album was helmed mainly by Dan Grech-Marguerat with Greg Kurstin producing four songs, both of who have collectively but individually produced a wide variety of popular artists over time. Liam has either solely written or co-written the bulk of the album but two songs are written for Liam by Miike Snow frontman Andrew Wyatt and ex-Jeff Buckley band mate Michael Tighe, both of whom had previously been in The A.M. Incidentally, one of those songs, “Chinatown” is solely produced by Andrew Wyatt and has an unusual production that makes it one of the more interesting tracks.
This is not a bad album at all it is just that in the context of the great work that Liam has done prior one can feel a tinge of disappointment but with repeated listening and over time my opinion may change.