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Icons / October 2017

Liam Gallagher: Britain's Songbird

With the release of his first solo album, The Rake looks back (not in anger) at the career of 2017’s favourite Gallagher brother.

Liam Gallagher, 1998. Photograph by Ms Jill Furmanovsky/Photoshot.

Liam Gallagher seems to be everywhere at the moment. In the last couple of weeks he’s been hailed as the voice of reason on Brexit (“good people should be allowed to move and groove wherever they want”), baffled Chris Rock on the Graham Norton sofa, reviewed music for Vice, needled brother Noel on Twitter and released his first solo album As You Were, which has just thundered to number one.

Like the mellowed anarchist himself, it’s a deft, fresh, surprisingly well-tempered work. That neo-John Lennon rage-whine has been tailored to something softer, with pinches of New Order, James, Suede and The Kinks. ‘I’ve All I Need’ is a lovely song about late-life contentment, ‘When I’m In Need’ atones for iffy lyrics with a euphoric Screamadelica coda, and the start of the excellent ‘Universal Gleam’ sounds, winningly, like the Blur of ‘Tender’ (keep your friends close).

Part of Oasis’ appeal was they infused the escapist, free-associative confidence of the rave scene (Happy Mondays, Primal Scream, The Stone Roses) with a retro-pop song-structure, a bridge between sixties Liverpool and late-eighties Manchester. If Noel was the thoughtful guitarist-songwriter in the vein of Pulp’s Richard Hawley or The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, Liam was the cocksure frontman-of-the-people, an extrovert enigma like Shaun Ryder and Ian Brown.

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Contributor

Ed Cripps

Ed is a screenwriter and journalist. His TV CV includes Episodes, Fresh Meat and Made in Chelsea (his first series of which won a BAFTA). In 2016, his piece on The South Bank Show came second in The Observer's Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism. In addition to The Rake, he has written for the TLS, MR PORTER and Little White Lies.