While its predecessor dragged needlessly at times, BE is a far stronger effort. Like the broader sonic palette of Oasis’ Dig Out Your Soul, BE ventures to fields anew and is all the better for it.

When part-time menswear entrepreneur Liam Gallagher is back in the music press spouting off quotes that range from the mildly amusing to the sublimely ludicrous, it can only mean one thing; he has a new record coming out. While Beady Eye’s first album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, was an OK but sometimes clumsy effort that felt like it was trying too hard to play to type, the second album from Oasis minus Noel has mostly dropped the rock pomp in favour of a deeper, darker groove.

‘Flick Of The Finger’ provides an epochal opening. Driven by heavy horns, the track builds up to a climactic finish that features actor Kayvan Novak reading a monologue from the Peter Weiss play Marat/Sade. See, told you it was different. ‘Soul Love’ could easily have been played as a straight rocker; instead much more space has been given to atmospherics and Gallagher’s voice, which gives the tracks a far more introverted feel.

First single ‘Second Bite Of The Apple’ is anchored by a hefty bass groove. The horns reappear, blistering their way through the choruses. Gallagher’s vocals have a fierce snarl to them on this track particularly. His voice may not have the range and firepower it once did, but his delivery throughout more than makes up for it. Like on the first album, some of the lyrics on BE come across as either barbs or olive branches from Gallagher to his estranged sibling. ‘Don’t Brother Me’ (see what they did there?) is a mix of both love and loathing that diverges into a haze of backwards guitars and keys.

3.5/5 stars

BY MICHAEL HARTT

Be is out now onColumbia/Sony.

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