“Solo record are you fucking tripping dickhead I’m not a cunt” (sic) Liam Gallagher tweeted back in January 2016 after fans dared suggest the very idea of it. A mere 21 months later though comes the release of said solo album As You Were, a project on which he teamed up with songwriting giants Greg Kurstin (Adele, Arctic Monkeys) and the singer of the band Miike Snow, Andrew Wyatt (Lorde, Bruno Mars). It’s just another example of the fascinating unpredictability of a man who remains one of Britain’s most recognisable figures in music. After four years of absence following the demise of Beady Eye, fans were eager to see what the fiery frontman would offer next. As You Were is both familiar and surprising; the album has a clear retro influence while also sounding fresh.
Fans of his brother may sneer at the use of co-writers but the surprising truth is that most of the highlights on the album are entirely self-penned by Gallagher. Lead single and opening track “Wall of Glass”, co-written and produced by Kurstin, has the same rock n’ roll aggression we’ve come to know from Gallagher albeit with a poppier edge.
Just when we think Gallagher has tamed after the acoustic number “Bold”, the acidic “Greedy Soul” is thrust upon us. Featuring lyrics such as “You got your kiss and tell/I hope you go to hell”, there is little doubt who this is directed at. Things become even more sinister on “Paper Crown”, where Gallagher’s tone becomes somewhat virulent as he sings about a woman all alone while a wolf is at her door. “For What It’s Worth” is a strong rock ballad but it pales in comparison to the other tracks on the album.
The real highlights of As You Were, however, are in the latter half. The album’s closing tracks, “Universal Gleam” and “I’ve All I Need” easily showcase Gallagher’s best songwriting skills to date. The most impressive thing about As You Were is how well it all gels together; there is a warm, dream-like feel throughout the entire album and there are rarely any sluggish moments. It’s difficult not to feel drawn in to “When I’m In Need” or “Chinatown”, even despite some bizarre lyrical choices (ironically, the latter had no input from Gallagher lyrically).
As You Were does a stellar job in establishing Gallagher as a credible solo artist and will win over both diehard or casual fans of his and may even create some new ones. He has proved that, band or no band, this is still very much Liam Gallagher back in business. As you were, LG.