By Pat Holohan
Let's just get it out of the way: "Different Gear, Still Speeding" isn't "What's the Story?" or "Definitely Maybe." Hell, it's barely even "Heathen Chemistry." Still, Beady Eye's debut album is definitely worth a listen for anyone nostalgic for the days of ‘90s Brit-pop. Hardcore Oasis fans might not even hate it.
Fans have been sick of the Gallagher brothers' arrogance for years, and the mixture of the two that created great albums also led to huge fights, finally leading to brother Noel's departure in 2009.
So for anyone who was conjuring up "What If?" scenarios during Oasis' contests with Blur and Radiohead in the ‘90s of "What if Gallagher wrote an album instead of Noel?" here's your result. Nothing profound, nothing deep, but not bad.
I listened to the album a few times before I really started to notice the lyrics, and even then they rarely matter. Gallagher sings for a little bit about being famous or falling for a girl before using the song's title to make up most of a chorus.
The album is pleasant enough to listen through if you're not expecting too much. You can hear plenty of Gallagher trying to be John Lennon, especially on the tracks "Wigwam," "Millionaire," and "For Anyone," as Gallagher spends much of his singing in a half-whine that comes close to parodying Lennon at times.
On "Beatles and Stones," Gallagher resumes his frequent boasts that he'll stand the test of the time, like the two title bands, a claim a little less definitive now that his best years may be behind him without his brother.
The highlights of the album, though, are the few tracks that are not that far away from some of Oasis' better songs in its heyday. In particular, "The Roller," "Standing on the Edge of the Noise" and "Man of Misery" stand out uniquely for sounding like classic Oasis, which in these few cases turns out nicely.
Some may see "Different Gear, Still Speeding" as a small tease of what could have been another excellent Oasis album, but I think it's a nice change after the inevitable breakup of the original band from decades of bickering. There's little doubt that it suffers without Noel Gallagher's influence, but it's definitely a worthwhile addition to Liam Gallagher's legacy.