Thursday, December 7, 2023
HomeMusicEPsNoel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Magic Secrets #1 Review

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Magic Secrets #1 Review

Even Noel Gallagher doubts whether people listen to his recent EPs. He revealed as much at Glastonbury last year on the Pyramid Stage. Not listening to his latest offerings and securing a spot preceding his God and divine creature Paul McCartney are not bedfellows. But they must be. It is why he sticks to the Oasis roots and the early High Flying Birds work, for that is where his perceived quality lies. That must have an effect on the mental state, and it certainly has an impact on Magic Secrets #1, which stretches the words “extended play” to their very limit since it is the same length as a 7” and a B-Side. Still, these are trivial troubles which Gallagher man is nonplussed by at best.  

After “writing and noodling,” (Gallagher’s words) away on two songs, Magic Secrets #1 comes together about as well as expected for such a wide berth of lyrical emptiness. About as upbeat and serious as the closing credits song to the Mike Myers-starring The Cat in the Hat. Gallagher clings to his solid vocal workings on two vague tracks which spread their hands over the moments of love between two individuals, as Gallagher always does. It is not the interpretation which is the problem but the longevity of similarity and how little it proves in the case of this singer. We’re Gonna Get There In The End met with its end goal some time ago, and now Gallagher is lyrically exhausted. None of that has since changed, as Magic Secrets #1 showcases. 

Firing warning shots on second track Trying to Find a World That’s Been and Gone: Part One, as though a second part was round the corner, is as dull as it gets. A tiresome three-minute acoustic ballad which feels like a scraping of the underside of his writing and prose. Tacky synth and brass numbers massage emptiness like no other and convene with little force between them. Gallagher finds the will to carry on creating. There are some who wish he would not. His feeble dedications in the post-2020s era are a staggering drop of form, like watching Leeds play out a Premier League match under Jesse Marsch. As though seeing the rotting bottom of a ship and thinking she is still seaworthy. Gallagher is not the creative flair he used to be, and even then, it was a pretty dim glow.  

He cannot let go, as he admits on We’re Gonna Get There In The End, a plausible and agreeable track which figures an acoustic guitar and the same sentimentally flush percussion will guide it. That it does, but no overhaul of style or sound is made. Gallagher glides through once more in a dated and tired style. The equivalent experience of bashing your head against a wall in the hopes it comes crashing down. Gallagher is bloodied and staggering, a man without purpose now his time at the top comes to a close. Adapt and move on, like a shark or Bob Dylan. No longer the formidable acoustic caregiver he was to a generation who were impressed with slowly walking faster than a cannonball. Those empty trivialities and disconnected lyricisms, which appear to be written in isolation from one another, are here and present once more.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet


  1. This was released over a year ago, looking forward to your review of his new album out on Friday at some point next year!

Leave a Reply