“It’s going back to the beginning. Daydreaming, looking up at the sky and wondering about what life could be,” Noel Gallagher recently said of Council Skies, his fourth album with High Flying Birds.
True to his word, here is an album that takes stock of the thrilling journey that led him from humble Mancunian roots to global fame. The result is some of the best songs of his post-Oasis career.
The psych-tinged strum of ‘Easy Now’ offers a touching catalogue of advice to his younger self (“Soon your future will appear / There’s nothing left for you to fear”), while ‘Pretty Boy’ zips along with one of the record’s biggest choruses and a frenetically brilliant cameo on guitar from Johnny Marr.
It also benefits from the sheer amount of sonic variety on display too, making for a consistently surprising listen. A full string section can be found on ‘Open the Door, See What You Find’, while the title track drips with a 60s-esque continental swagger.
There are moments of powerful contemplation too, which go far in reaffirming Gallagher’s uniquely unrivalled song-writing talents. “If love ain’t enough / To make it alright / Leave me dead to the world,” he offers on ‘Dead to The World’.
When the solo material is as good as this, it’s little wonder that an Oasis reunion looks as far away as ever.