He's brash, blunt and often rude. He once told his brother Noel to “stick your thousand pounds right up your f---in’ a--- ‘til it comes out your f---in’ big toe.” Noel later described his brother's anger like “a man with a fork in a world of soup.”

But Liam Gallagher sure makes a hell of a record.

The former Oasis frontman's long-awaited solo debut, As You Were, makes as grandiose a statement as his months of tweets.

It's miles better than anything he released with his previous band, Beady Eye, and just as good as, if not better than, much of what he released with Oasis.

At 45, Gallagher still has the crooning voice that helped make Oasis one of the most popular bands of the ‘90s. On a record driven primarily by guitar, both electric and acoustic, Gallagher's vocals still shine through.

For a man as egotistical as Gallagher, he knew in making As You Were that songwriting is not a strong suit of his. He was wise enough to bring in an all-star cast of songwriters, namely Greg Kurstin (Adele, the Foo Fighters, Beck), Andrew Wyatt (Lorde, Bruno Mars, Miike Snow), Michael Tighe (Adele, Mark Ronson) and Iain Archer (Snow Patrol). 

Kurstin, Wyatt, Tighe and Gallagher's joint production, “Wall of Glass,“ is the record's most ambitious song: overdriven guitars, lively drums and an ambitious harmonica that enhance Gallagher's voice.

While “Wall of Glass” is more ambitious than the rest of As You Were, the record is not meek or uninventive. Gallagher — a noted Beatles superfan who once claimed to be a reincarnated John Lennon — takes his ‘60s influences and artfully blends them with the ‘90s themes upon which Oasis built its legend.

“When I'm In Need” could have been a demo discarded from the Beatles' Rubber Soul that Gallagher got his hands on and remastered. Gallagher's voice blends with guitar and the Beatles' trademark backing vocals.

Though most of the remainder of As You Were lacks the clear Beatles touch that's evident on “When I'm In Need,” the Fab Four are continually referenced by Gallagher. “Happiness is still a warm gun,” he croons on the impassioned, beautiful ballad “Chinatown,” and “Tomorrow never knows,” he reminds listeners on standard edition closing track “I've All I Need.”

The Beatles aside, Gallagher pulls from all across the musical spectrum, from blues on surprising apology track “For What It's Worth” to the crashing guitars of punk on “I Get By.”

As You Were is the product of years of dedication to music as it changed and progressed. Gallagher knew the world didn't want another “Wonderwall.” It's straight-up rock 'n' roll, combining Gallagher's years of musical experience with a youthful energy that hasn't waned — even if has to make his own tea now.

The now-famous 1994 NME interview that the Gallagher brothers gave at the very beginning of their success — released as a bootleg known as "Wibbling Rivalry" — showed the music world the previously unseen tension between the two. The profanity-laden interview spirals out of control as the two argue over an incident involving Liam, a ferry and copious amounts of alcohol.

As You Were seems to indicate that perhaps Liam took to heart one thing Noel said during that spat: “Rock 'n' roll is about music. ... It's not about you, it's not about me, it's not about Oasis. It's about the music.”

Rating: 4/5



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