Alec Reviews Music: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ ‘Who Built the Moon’ is unoriginal

Alec Erickson

In the world of alternative music and rivalries, there has always been one set of brothers at the forefront.

Album cover for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' Who Built the Moon.
Photo Courtesy: iTunes

Liam and Noel Gallagher have always been one to challenge not only themselves but one another, and now just a short while after the release of Liam’s first solo album, Noel’s band is back with their third studio album, “Who Built the Moon.” This record is the group’s most uplifting and energetic release yet, but after leaving the sophomore slump behind, the group has found some cliché and campy elements all over their latest release.

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The Manchester, England-based rock group that is Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds formed back in 2010. For the most part, the band is comprised of most of what remains out of Oasis after that band split with tensions between brothers Noel and Liam. Noel still takes on songwriting and singing for the band, and they released their first self-titled album back in 2011. That album would go on to do well both commercially and critically. Their highly anticipated follow up album “Chasing Yesterday” was a huge shift for the band as we heard less power chords and more of a modern take on psychedelic rock. The group started to form their sound as a slower rock band and were trying to differentiate themselves from their Oasis beginnings. Their latest attempt “Who Built the Moon” is another tonal shift for the band as they begin to pick up the tempo.

“Who Built the Moon” is a 12-track record that clocks in at around 49 minutes in length. We hear more of a focus on instrumentals and lyrics coming in only when needed on each track. When things do start to slow down on a few of the tracks, they begin to noticeably become confused and uninspired. Only when things are in full gear do you really hear Noel and company at some of their finest.

Musically, there is an attempt to pick up the pace on “Who Built the Moon.” Lead tracks “Fort Knox” and “Black & White Sunshine” see a big upscale in the tempo, with more of a focus on power chords and progression than previous works. Other tracks like “Be Careful What You Wish For” are the exact opposite and are a slow drag of the feet from beginning to end. There is a mixed bag for sure when it comes to “Who Built the Moon,” and for fans, they will have to pick it a part to find something that seems new or exciting. Tracks like “If Love Is the Law” don’t have a lot of progression and seem a little too over produced for a final mix. “It’s a Beautiful World” is one of the few tracks that found one rhythm and stuck with it. When a few of the tracks are over five minutes long, you don’t really want to end up listening to the same few chords over and over with nothing new. After about the first minute, you will start to get the idea and want to move on.

Lyrically, there isn’t a whole lot to pick apart on “Who Built the Moon.” The record is more focused on instrumentals and has a few instrumental tracks like “Fort Knox” and “Interlude (Wednesday Part 1)” and “End Credits (Wednesday Part 2).” That is a pretty big chunk of the record without any lyrics. The rest is shallow and simple in nature. Tracks like “She Taught Me How To Fly” have a couple of lines that are repeated through the entire track. You can hear how this album was supposed to be a lot more philosophical than it really is. Tracks like “If Love Is the Law” challenging the typical ballad. Other tracks like “The Man Who Built the Moon” are darker and moodier than the rest but still have clichés written all over them and get drowned out by the rest of the instrumentals.

Should you listen to it? No

When it comes down to it, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds came away from “Who Built the Moon” with half an idea, and not much progression. While there was a distinct effort to make this different than the last two records and make it more upbeat, the fact is this record is best served in pieces rather than in a whole. “Who Built the Moon” won’t make you think, but it does have some fun hidden away on it. Although, you must dig and know what you are looking for. As for “Who Built the Moonm” the answer to that question may be a little more disappointing than some expected.

Collegian Reporter Alec Erickson can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @CTV_Ace.