Oasis Noel and Liam WF.jpg by Will Fresch is s licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

2017 has been an exciting year for the Gallagher brothers. Almost 9 years after the implosion of Oasis, right now seems like the first time the brothers have found themselves on a level playing field.

Over the last 9 years Noel hasn’t so much stepped out of the shadow of Oasis, but ensured that all suggestions that he was the cog that kept the band turning were correct. With the success of his first album since the split of Oasis, “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds”, he banished the memory of Oasis’ final album, the patchy “Dig Out Your Soul”, and followed in the footsteps of artists such as Paul Weller and Morrissey, who have moved away from established bands, and built successful careers as solo artists.

Liams foray into post-Oasis territory, until recently, looked bleak. After walking hand in hand into the unknown with Gem Archer, and Andy Bell, they emerged with Beady Eye, and “Different Gear, Still Speeding”. With their first studio album being released early 2011, it felt like a rushed Oasis B-Side album which was released solely with the intention of staying in spotlight. It must have hurt even more when later that year Noel came out with his first solo outing to much critical acclaim.

Beady Eye came again in 2013, but it was too late. Noel continued to sell out arenas, as the news, to no real shock, emerged that Beady Eye were to go their separate ways. With any news regarding Liam becoming largely more negative over the years, until 2017.

Liam has taken these 4 years off, and come back with an album which is strictly Liam Gallager. He doesn’t need over complicated lyrics, or an orchestra of instruments, his strength doesn’t involve pushing the audiences boundaries, where Liam is at his peak is where he has people off their seats. Those big, rumbling, choruses of the 90’s which would have fans losing their voices by the third song, and that’s what he’s produced.

After a middle of the bill run on the festival circuit this summer it seemed wildly ambitious that he would be headlining Finsbury Park in 2018, but Liam is back in a big way, with a complete sell out. He is reaching out to his fans through social media, he’s doing the TV appearances, and where he has managed to maintain a catalogue of soundbites taking shots at Noel or the final days of Oasis, he’s not relying on anyone else to drive his vehicle. He’s where he wants to be, he’s the headliner, and nobody can take that away from him.

Just as in 2011, Noel has followed Liam with a release of his own. “Who Built The Moon?” being his third album under The Flying Birds, and described as his most ambitious album to date, was released last week, and it would be largely unfair to say that he has matched his achievement of 2011, and blown Liam out of the water. He hasn’t.

Where the release has been released to a lot of positive criticism, it doesn’t feel like an album that will stay much in the memory. Personally I can’t decide if I like the single “Holy Mountain” based of it’s own merit, or because it’s played twice an hour on Radio X and it’s embedded its way into my psyche.

It’s understandable that Noel would want to step away from his Oasis roots, and create something that isn’t comparable to Liam’s release. “Who Built The Moon?” just feels too distant, he has mentioned he wants to test the audience, keep them on their toes, not keep releasing what is expected of him. However, this is Noel at the peak of pretension. You can feel the arrogance breathing through it. You can be lost in judgement throughout the album, whether you like it or not, but when you get to the bonus track, “Dead In The Water”, that’s where Noel returns, an unedited acoustic number, and that’s where you find yourself wishing the album was beginning.

A year ago it wouldn’t have been hard to imagine Liam as a frustrated figure, unable to do what he loves to do most, swaggering onto the stage of a sold out stadium, and belting out all the hits the people want to hear. Just sitting, waiting for that call, waiting for Noel to falter, waiting for the reunion, but he’s reached this juncture where he doesn’t need to wait anymore.

Where Noel should neither rise nor fall off the back of this release, Liam is firmly on the up. As long as he doesn’t rush release a follow up, takes his time, and carefully selects what he releases, then he can stay at the top for as long as he chooses to.

It’s fair to say that an Oasis reunion has never been as far away as it is right now.

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