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Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Open the Door, See What You Find Review

Elusive the other side of a closed door may be, building toward the mystery is half the battle. Open the Door, See What You Find, the latest and final single ahead of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ Council Skies, forgets this crucial piece. Richard Hawley hammered home Open Up Your Door, a gorgeously worked and intimate section of his calming, crooner days. It is the evasive ideas which linger as potential which work best for the discovery of what comes from opening it up. Gallagher has that poetry to him here, a rare sighting considering the miserable experiences of the four preceding singles, but Open the Door, See What You Find has a literalism to it which works here. Go on, open the door, then. 

What listeners can find are the usual merits of Gallagher’s sickly string sections and ding-dong doorbell additions. Hollow percussion and maintaining his style through electronic manipulation of the voice, it does not appear particularly genuine but it is all drowned out by the violinists anyway. Opening the door and seeing what you find is all well and good but it implies something new or broad for Gallagher and these duck-diving fowl to engage. A little flat but at least some heart can be heard through all the poor mixtures and wandering strings. They guide Gallagher, and it should be the other way around. Inevitable it is to hear the title used as a hook and breach into the chorus, it works nice enough and has pangs of nostalgia. Is that what listeners come to for Gallagher now? 

Not that long ago, the Manchester City fan could hang his hat on a decent High Flying debut, a self-titled experience at least worth giving a go. Nothing from the Council Skies singles moves his sound on further from that or in an interesting setting. Neither comes through for Open the Door, See What You Find, an acceptable set of riffs and the white light in the palm of Gallagher’s hands, as he sings of, has clearly faded over the years. A lengthy four minutes made up of Futurama intro music chimes and the desire to hear something less cloth-eared and broadly emotional. Gallagher fails to mark specifics which makes this track his own, he could have written it for someone else. Keep that door padlocked and boarded shut. Nothing on the other side was worth sticking around for. Compare it with Hawley’s Open Up The Door, a track which uses strings in isolation to reflect the character’s coldness and loneliness, fruitful final moments bring the warmth of extra instruments. Gallagher does not have the build, the pay-off and the reward, which Hawley’s similarly thematic track has. Strings are there from the get-go and drown everything else in complacency, a one-touch tone clamouring for more.

Another shame in the recent releases of Gallagher, Open the Door, See What You Find feels sluggish and generic as it plods along through its four minutes of breathless strings. Gallagher occasionally remembers he is handy with a guitar and fuses this into the latter sections of a song which, despite being no longer than most, feels exhausting. Perhaps it is the repetition, the stale sequences and the lacklustre efforts which make up this feeling. Rooted to the spot, never quite shifting gears or bringing about some movement or change, Open the Door, See What You Find finds nothing, no real rush of the senses or powerful display. Just a track which will serve as a brief tour showcase before being dumped in place of a Joy Division Cover or callback to Oasis. He lives on through that, Open the Door, See What You Find is dead on arrival. 

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. Edgy ewan, with all the lofty superiority of an unpopular student walking through the canteen at lunch break clutching his newly purchased Richard Hawley rereleases
    outwards so people can see how cool he is, has figured out a noel gallagher review gets him clicks for the short lived Cult Following page.. He’s mistaken reviewing for 6th form criticism but ah well his music is better than yours pop pickers

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