THERE was a time in the mid-1990s when Oasis hysteria was running rampant with brash anthems like Live Forever, Morning Glory, Don't Look Back In Anger and Champagne Supernova.
But underneath the Gallagher brothers' cocksure posturing were a treasure trove of B-sides like Going Nowhere, Take Me Away and D'yer Wanna Be A Spaceman?, where Noel Gallagher sang of his dreams of escaping the dreary life of a Manchester housing estate.
The pandemic saw Gallagher return to the dreams of his youth for his fourth solo album, Council Skies, with his High Flying Birds.
However, he approaches those dreams not from the innocence of youth, but as a 56-year-old armed with experience and maturity. But at heart, Gallagher remains the dreamer who famously penned the lyric, "you and I are gonna live forever."
On the title track Gallagher sings, "Catching the butterflies/ Under the council skies/ Watching the world go by."
For fans upset with Gallagher's foray into psychedelic-pop on 2017's Who Built The Moon? and disco on the 2020 Black Star Dancing EP, will welcome the Wonderwall songwriter's return to his anthemic pop-rock territory.
Council Skies combines elements of his more earthy 2011 solo debut and the cosmic-pop of Who Built The Moon? to produce the most multi-layered work of his career.
The folk-rock opener I'm Not Giving Up Tonight explodes with baroque horns and an epic chorus, while the stomping There She Blows and Love Is A Rich Man melds psych and blues influences.
Oasis fans will adore Easy Now's stadium-ready singalong chorus and Dead To The World is possibly the most heart-breaking song Gallagher has written and can be readily interpreted as a lament to the recent collapse of his marriage with Sara MacDonald.
Gallagher's fractious relationship with his younger brother and former Oasis bandmate, Liam Gallagher, continues to create headlines amid talk of a Oasis reunion in 2025.
But Council Skies is proof a reformation isn't needed.
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