Common sense never counted for much within Oasis. Everything that should have come easily never did, with the band stumbling and squabbling through stardom, creating great individual moments but somehow just missing a masterpiece. Conventional wisdom painted the brothers Gallagher as ego and id incarnate, the former belonging to classical craftsman Noel and the latter to shaggy animal Liam, but after the group’s 2009 split the journeymen that filled out the rest of Oasis stuck with the younger Gallagher, the quartet going on to perform as Beady Eye, releasing Different Gear, Still Speeding in early 2011. In a sense, this Steve Lillywhite-produced debut contains few surprises: it sounds like Oasis minus Noel, who always was the Gallagher on easier terms with modern music, meaning that Liam ratchets up his love of the ‘60s, going so far as to swipe the chord progression from “All You Need Is Love” for “The Roller.” So why does Different Gear, Still Speeding feel fresher than any Oasis album since (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, even their excellent last two records, Don’t Believe the Truth and Dig Out Your Soul? Because this is an Oasis driven by Liam, the purest rock & roll star of his generation. He’s so sure of his swagger and taste that he truly believes that blatant hero worship is rebellion, and so his music actually retains a wild spirit even as it follows a classicist blueprint to the letter. This untrammeled rock & roll gusto makes the bulk of Different Gear pure fun in a way the carefully considered post-Morning Glory records never were, and it also means that Beady Eye aren’t quite as sure-footed on their ballads: they are a band of instinct, not introspection, and listening to them follow Liam’s id throughout Different Gear, Still Speeding is infectious.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine