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Liam Gallagher - C'mon You Know (Album Review)

Monday, 30 May 2022 Written by Simon Ramsay

Photo: Greg Williams

It shouldn’t be hard to write great material for Liam Gallagher. Whether it’s swaggering rock with a tonne of roll, or epic balladry that falls on the right side of schmaltz, give the charismatic icon some songs that fall within those parameters and he’ll employ every ounce of his inimitable swagger to hand you back anthemic gold. So, why are the singer’s A-List collaborators still struggling to do just that on a consistent basis?

Although commercial successes that have seen his solo career eclipse that of the sibling-who-shall-not-be-named, and landed him two sell out shows at Knebworth, Liam’s first two albums featured some stonking tunes amid a whole lotta filler. Even though it’s dressed up in different clothing, ‘C’mon You Know’ can’t break that pattern.

Easily the most eclectic album he’s made, and definitely the most interesting, everything from gospel and Motown to electronica and psychedelica have, alongside his usual retro touchstones and shameless John Lennon-isms, been incorporated into an often fascinating third album.

When everything clicks, it delivers exactly what you’d want from Gallagher with plenty of fresh twists. The beat-driven Diamond In The Dark dishes up sweltering electro-indie-funk, its restrained earworm chorus a soulful stealth missile.

Everything’s Electric, co-penned by Dave Grohl, is a slo-mo attitudinal groove machine that imagines the Rolling Stones, at their dangerously cool peak, corrupting the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage, and World’s In Need, with its acoustic slide work, exotic summer of love strings and peppy harmonica, could have come from Led Zeppelin ‘III.’  

Elsewhere, Moscow Rules exhales smokey jazz, blues and a slinky Beatles melody, while Too Good For Giving Up is a rousing piano anthem of perseverance for vulnerable tough guys. Although not quite Liam’s Imagine, it’s easily the best ballad ‘our kid’ never wrote for him and one of his most mature and affecting vocal performances.

Such impressive flourishes, courtesy of producers and co-writers such as Andrew Watt and Greg Kurstin, immediately grab the attention, as do some candid lyrical declarations from the nearly 50 year old, but it’s not long before you realise there’s a certain degree of smoke and mirrors at play.

Be it Wonderwall, Live Forever, Once, The River or Shakermaker, Gallagher’s most iconic work boasts either huge sing along, or fiercely drawled, choruses that demand to be belted out. All the genre-hopping colours here can’t disguise the fact that too many potentially promising cuts desperately lack those pivotal payoffs.

More Power, a pallid pastiche of the Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want, suggests a big moment is coming but meanders along without direction, fizz or the monster hook the song is crying out to unleash. Don’t Go Halfway, which bounds like the Charlatans’ One To Another, undercuts its pulsing, street-smart dynamic with a stodgy declaration, and Better Days decorates its Tomorrow Never Knows rhythmic textures with a so-so refrain that doesn’t quite take flight.

But, for all its frustrating inconsistencies, there’s lots to love about an album that’s easily Liam’s best post Oasis offering. Full of trademark conviction as he bends to the record’s experimental numbers with cocksure elasticity, the rock ‘n’ roll star makes some very good tunes great and, at the very least, imbues the less stellar tracks with enough magnetic charm and personality to stop you hitting the skip button. If it were a six track record, ‘C’mon You Know’ would be a classic.

Liam Gallagher Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed June 01 2022 - MANCHESTER Etihad Stadium
Fri June 03 2022 - STEVENAGE Knebworth Park
Sat June 04 2022 - STEVENAGE Knebworth Park
Fri June 24 2022 - BELFAST Ormeau Park
Sun June 26 2022 - GLASGOW Hampden Park
Sat August 27 2022 - DUBLIN Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Thu September 15 2022 - CARDIFF Alexandra Head

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