Similarly to the other songs on the album, “The Death Of You And Me” is musically jaunty and precocious with the grey glitter of hope behind a depleted, sardonic lyrical façade.
“(I Wanna Live in a Dream in My) Record Machine” and album closer, “Stop The Clocks,” were apparently an Oasis demos which can be heard in the strident strings, rain-soaked melodies, and the popular ’90s-style crash course in “contemporary traditional” rock guitar.
“AKA…What A Life!” is oddly-titled and perhaps points to the caricatures and characters Gallagher must portray, but the real sticky musical gem in this song is the infectious [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Rapture[/lastfm]-like dance breakdown in the middle of the song and the dark “woo-hoos” that punctuate the glistening fade at the end of the song.
Provocatively titled “Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks,” the seventh song of High Flying Birds has echoes of British psychedelia from the Nugget-era with traces of the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Kinks[/lastfm], the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Small Faces[/lastfm], and the[lastfm link_type="artist_info"] Animals[/lastfm].
Despite the familiar structure of the careening melody, “Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks” is a gorgeously articulated, politically bent sparkler and shows exactly why classic songs are indeed considered classic.
The second to last song, “(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach” sounds like a washed-out, wry teenage dream and might be the most modern of the tracks on High Flying Birds.
Heavy with percussion, “(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach” features a sound similar to the clang of a large clock or gong, rubbery keyboard plunks, earnest hand claps, and the usages of sound effects like the creak of an old pier, rain on the ocean, or the wild thrash of waves.
In the song, Gallagher sings plaintively: “And hold me all night/Or say “so long, baby, bye bye”/Pull me one for the road/It’s a long journey baby/And where is gonna take me?/Just depends on the weight of my load/Depends on the weight of my load.”
And all of High Flying Birds is as contextually unsure as this, the constant tug between the sheer talent and bravado of Gallagher’s melodies and choruses mixed with the reticence of his verses. Gallagher almost seems ready to give up and have a bit of a laugh at himself if he isn’t well-received on his solo début.
But High Flying Birds is gorgeous, glossy, and muscular without contrived concepts to drag us down or jewel-toned flits of modernity to distract us and could be as enduring as any classic Oasis.
1. “Everybody’s On The Run”
2. “Dream On”
3. “If I Had a Gun…”
4. “The Death of You And Me”
5. “(I Wanna Live In a Dream In My) Record Machine”
6. “AKA… What a Life!”
7. “Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks”
8. “AKA… Broken Arrow”
9. “(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach”
10. “Stop the Clocks”