Love him or loathe him, Liam Gallagher is coming close to Bowie levels of comeback success. As if being the frontman of one of the most popular rock bands of all time wasn’t enough, he’s enjoyed spotlight in the warmly received Beady Eye, and both his first two solo albums, As You Were and 2019’s Why Me? Why Not. debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart.
At last, then, his third offering is out – C’mon You Know. It’s been a long time coming; the lead single ‘Everything’s Electric’ breaking the Top 20 and being played on almost every radio station around. The record opens with ‘More Power’ – a song that owes more than a little to the Stones’ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, complete with full choir. It’s an ambitious start to the album, and one that took me wholly by surprise.
For those who preach that Liam Gallagher only makes tried-and-true indie rock bathed in laddish stupor, ‘More Power’ is the proof that’ll sway you. It’s a powerful anthem, and already one of the best releases of the year.
‘Diamond in the Dark’, meanwhile, sees Gallagher going right back to the Stone Roses’ sophomore effort; a lowdown, pre-Britpop number that proves a strong follow-up to ‘More Power’. It’s almost dirty in its meticulous groove.
Liam G’s third album was built for big stages and headlining slots. Summer is coming and never has one man been readier to conquer that arena, packing his album with sun-kissed, distorted deliciousness. ‘Don’t Go Halfway’ has it all: background harmonies, crunchy guitar and a thunderous chorus.
The no-holds-barred optimism continues in the album’s title track, with a thumping backbeat old as time. It’s five solid minutes of undiluted rock ‘n roll tonic, fading into a wall of noise straight out of Definitely Maybe’s messier numbers. ‘Too Good for Giving Up’ is one of the more mainstream moments on Gallagher’s alt rock epic, but there’s no shame in that. Rich piano brings a nice balance to all the fuzz and the furor – it’s a fairly beautiful ballad for a man steeped in swaggering, punchy riffs.
‘It Was Not Meant to Be’ is another decent pop rocker, before side two opens with the lead single from C’mon You Know – ‘Everything’s Electric’ -and one of the best tracks Liam has ever written. It’s got the iconic, cryptic lyrics one expects from him, with classic animosity and Beatles-y influence you just can’t shake. It’s a surefire anthem for the young’uns; an unstoppable tour-de-force that finishes far too soon.
There’s the best of Gallagher’s first two releases in ‘World’s in Need’ and ‘Moscow Rules’; the latter is a particularly intricate number that seems so out of place in the LG canon. The bombastic poison letter/social commentary fusion of ‘I’m Free’ doesn’t lure me in, but it’s got enough early 2000s hip-hop influence to prove a big finish live.
‘Better Days’ is by far the weakest of the singles, but it’s another hit of summertime love, at a time when we so desperately need it. Then the poignant finale of ‘Oh Sweet Children’ comes in with one of the most Lennon/McCartney melodies Gallagher’s done yet. It has this building, dreamlike chorus akin to ‘Day in the Life’ or a ‘Champagne Supernova’ copycat and makes for a nostalgic climax of sheer melancholia.
C’mon You Know is without a doubt Liam Gallagher’s deepest moment yet. It’s got tracks you’d never have expected to come out of the man who wrote ‘Songbird’. It rocks and spits when the need arises, but the pinnacles of this record are when its creator allows himself to shed the shackles of indie rock and lad culture, spreading his wings and boasting his most ambitious efforts yet. ‘More Power’ is simply beautiful, and ‘Diamond in the Dark’ is almost criminally moreish. But Gallagher knows just how to package those juicy anomalies with the rock and roll attitude of old, brandishing ‘fuck you’ choruses in the title track and its lead single. C’mon You Know is a thoroughly commendable body of work, and hopefully the start of Gallagher’s experimental period.