The Lonely Minotaur

Music & Concert Reviews

Andy Bell’s “The View From Halfway Down” Track-By-Track Review — October 9, 2020

Andy Bell’s “The View From Halfway Down” Track-By-Track Review

The brilliant Andy Bell of Ride/Hurricane #1/Oasis/Beady Eye fame has finally dropped his debut solo record titled The View From Halfway Down. Technically speaking, Bell slipped a solo record (Dissident) into the world in 2019 under the moniker of GLOK. That album was bursting with experimental sonic landscapes of yesteryear that could easily have been the soundtrack to any season of “Stranger Things” on Netflix. Bell doesn’t drift too far from the sonic template found on Dissident with his first proper album under his own name. The View From Halfway Down (named after a BoJack Horseman episode) is loaded with the best musical nods ranging from CAN, Neu!, The Stone Roses and even Ride. Across eight songs, Andy is asking us not to focus on the lyrics or words but the sounds coming out of the speaker. That is the real currency found on The View From Halfway Down. Shout out to former band mate Gem Archer who helped to engineer, record and produce The View From Halfway Down. Move over Noel and Liam, Andy is also packing a powerful punch solo punch!

Love Comes In Waves – The psychedelic and jangly lead single that immediately recalls the best moments of early 90s Ride. The most direct and commercial track found on the album. Almost impossible not to tap your foot along to this banger.

Indica – As soon as this began to play thoughts of The Stone Roses meets Boards of Canada crept into my mind. This is one of Andy’s inversion tunes (hence the Stone Roses tip of the cap) which I am assuming is linked to album finale “Heat Haze On Weyland Road”.

Ghost Tones – This little finger picking ditty sounds like a lost track from The Beatles’ White Album sessions from 1968.

Skywalker – Beginning with a motorik backbeat and featuring groovy baselines, this track is clearly a homage to a band like Neu!. I have to admit, that awesome bass line reminds me of “It’s A Beautiful World” by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. An album highlight for sure and great song title.

Aubrey Drylands Gladwell – The early Tame Impala sound is all over this instrumental. I wish that band made more music like this. Fortunately for us, Andy can always give us the goods on that front.

Cherry Cola – First thoughts were Boards of Canada meets Beta Band with a splash of Beck. A sonic enjoyment from start to finish on this lovely tune. Definitely calls for the headphone treatment. One of the best songs Andy has ever crafted in my opinion.

I Was Alone – A psychedelic slow burner. In my mind I imagine this being chanted on the foothills of the Himalayas.

Heat Wave On Weyland Road – A grand kaleidoscope of cool electronic sounds and textures. I believe this is the second part of the inversion track “Indica” from earlier on the album but I’ll wait to see if Andy ever confirms that in promotional interviews.

Liam Gallagher Strikes Back With Why Me? Why Not. — September 22, 2019

Liam Gallagher Strikes Back With Why Me? Why Not.

Liam Gallagher has been on one hell of a roll since officially announcing his solo career in the summer of 2017. Out of the devastating breakup of Oasis in 2009 and later the ashes of Beady Eye in 2014, Liam has not only resurrected his good name and public perception but also delivered not one, but two well rounded solo albums. As You Were set the table in October 2017 proving that Liam could successfully navigate a post Oasis world without his big brother Noel guiding the way both lyrically and sonically. That album would go on to be a #1 record in the UK, become one of the biggest sellers in England that year and his concert venue sizes would continue to bloom with each passing month. Liam jokes that soon he could play his own Knebworth. Maybe that is a bit tongue-in-cheek but he might have a solid point. Things are escalating rather quickly for Gallagher who only 4-5 years ago was down on his luck, basically out of the music business and slowly piecing his personal life back together after a bitter divorce sparked by an affair with an American journalist. 

Now in 2019 Liam has unleashed his newest solo record titled Why Me? Why Not. It’s not a grand departure from his debut which was a lot of straight forward rockers and power ballads built to be sung by legions of adoring fans. The album was previously teased with lead single “Shockwave” that feels like it was destined to be in a Guy Ritchie crime caper, followed by the swamp rock of “The River”, then the self reflective ballad “Once” which many see as an olive branch to his brother Noel and lastly “One Of Us” with its military like stomp. Four different slices of the Liam Gallagher pie that should fill the appetite of any former Oasis fan. As with As You Were, Liam reunites with uber producers Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt (fresh off an Oscar win for “Shallow”) to help craft the sounds he envisions in his head. So get ready for a steady diet of 1967 Beatles, All Things Must Pass slide guitar action and some Between To Button era Rolling Stones. 

Highlights from the album include the catchy singalong “Now That I Found You”, the driving piano rocker “Halo”, the Magic Mystery Tour drenched “Meadow” and spaghetti western tinged closer “Gone”. There is a lot more musical diversity on this album compared to As You Were and it makes for a very enjoyable listen. It must have been difficult for Liam and his management to select what songs to make singles. Pretty much all 11 tracks could be commercial enough to promote the record. It wouldn’t feel out of place to have songs like “Halo”, “Alright Now” or the title track “Why Me? Why Not” set the table for what is to come on Liam’s newest LP. When it comes to musical accessibility look no further than the men behind the controls, Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt, who really understand how to not only get the most out of a song but also the artist performing them. Liam’s good fortune of linking up with these two Hollywood hitmakers could not be better timed as both helped to solidify his solo career with some serious musical thump and prestige behind it. We can only hope that Liam’s third album isn’t too far down the road. Now about that Knebworth gig….

Grade: B+

Checkout:   “Halo”, “Why Me? Why Not.”, “Meadow”, “Gone”