It's a classic situation, two brothers fighting it out for supremacy, bickering over who is the engine that powers the band. We've seen sibling rivalry in the Kinks, the Bee Gees, Beach Boys, The Nolans, Jedward (sorry, that's just wishful thinking) but in the last two decades the top duelling duo has to be Liam and Noel Gallagher. There are some that believe that Noel is the driving creative force behind the band's umpteen hits and massive success whereas others think that Liam's growling attitude soaked performances and off-stage antics are what made Oasis what it was - granted most of these are all called Liam, but none of us really know what went on during the writing of the many massive anthems that echo through football grounds around the country. When Oasis announced they were splitting up in 2009, and let's face it, nobody thought it was anything more than another minor tiff, it barely raised an eyebrow, so it was only when they both set up separate bands that I started to pay a bit more attention. Finally we could compare and contrast the brothers without the influence of the other in the only arena that really means anything in this row; music.
Liam created Beady Eye, and his presence alone was sufficient to warrant high billing and even headline slots at festivals and events across this summer of 2011. I was keen to catch him, and finally did at Reading Festival. I could barely have been more underwhelmed. I have never been a staunch fan of Oasis, it was always Blur for me, but even through gritted teeth I saw the beauty behind the tracks like "Wonderwall", "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "Champagne Supernova". I could hear the anthemic nature of the tracks, and sometimes you just knew that these were songs that were set to stay in playlists for many years to come. Barely a week goes by when you don't hear a riff or break from these tracks on the TV or radio. Beady Eye just lacked all of the depth and soul that was in Oasis. It looked like Oasis, the voice sounded like Oasis, but that's where the similarities ended. It's not that this was supposed to be a complete departure from Oasis, a change of style, that would have been great, it was just a distilled version of Oasis done by a chemist who had made a mistake in their calculations and removed the wrong bits from the formula. I am quite happy to be proved wrong in a few years time if I hold these new Beady Eye tracks up as beacons of modern rock and roll, but for now I won't be rushing out to buy the album any time soon.
Noel Gallagher, on the other hand, is widely seen as the brains and talent behind Oasis. He's always had the same streak of arrogance in his voice and gait, but it has always been a more tempered and confident version of Liam and that of a man who is sure of his abilities to back up any claims that he might make about his talent. So when I heard about Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, and their imminent tour, it was time to see, once and for all, which of the brothers had fallen out of the talent tree and hit every branch on the way down, and which one had missed it completely and chose to pick up a broken branch and beat his brother with it instead.
On initial listens it seems that Noel's tracks definitely have the edge. They have the depth and composition that Beady Eye lacks but it is still a fair few goes away from burying itself into my mind and becoming another of the now classic Oasis tracks, but then that's what I would expect, having never been immediately gripped by them.
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds tickets are on sale this week, with most of the big tickets going on sale in the morning (28th October 2011). Interestingly where Liam has been playing at smaller venues like the O2 Academys and ironically the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon, Noel is playing at the MEN Arena, Metro Radio Arena, Glasgow SECC the O2 Arena and the NIA Birmingham. What does that say about the confidence that Noel and the promoters have in his music?
It's rare that you can really compare two big figures like this, it would be the equivalent of seeing Batman fight Spiderman, or Cameron fighting Clegg, but we are all in for a treat when we see how the two tours and their respective tickets sales go and we can finally say which of the two brothers has the right to say that they were the talent behind Oasis. Of course, both will still claim their "victory" regardless of the outcome, but in their hearts they will know, and the result will be an inevitable return of Oasis, where it will be impossible to tell for sure once more.
Written by Derren Nugent