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HomeMusicEPsNoel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Wait and Return Review

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Wait and Return Review

Wait for what? Noel Gallagher and his high-flying fowl were shot down and massacred by The Reflex Revision. Tuck in. Barely memorable tracks from one of his better albums pooled over in a throwback to the days when Motiv-8 were dishing out remixes left and right. Those times are not missed, especially by those who were born after it happened. Still, Gallagher is a bit of a throwback these days and most of his albums spend their time kicking up the past. Where can Richard Norris and The Reflex take three of these tracks? To longer shores is all. Wait and Return is not all bad, but it pales in comparison to some already sheepish originals from Who Built the Moon?. He wonders why nobody bought his EPs. Here is the reason. 

Taking the best track of the Who Built the Moon? era and slapping some obnoxious clapping and percussion over the top of it as though it needed extending is an uninspired choice. Put your money where your mouth is? Draw the line? The line has been well and truly crossed here. Repetitive to the point of tiresome this opener may be, it is nothing in comparison to the other two offerings. She Taught Me How To Fly may be a shoddy adaptation and elongation of a track where the length and style were a solid match in the first place. Piling some clunky instrumentals onto Keep On Reaching, this almost big-time musical introduction which pulls at the “can you keep a secret” opening lyric is stomach-churning. Primary school nativity levels of musical production, a selection of preset instrumentals which shimmer like the end credits of a not-so-good Christmas special. 

Reformatting the style of Keep On Reaching sees the lyrics pushed to the forefront. That is the last place they need to be. Empty offerings which were, on the original version, hidden from view by slick instrumentals. Some of those survive the transfer through this Reflex Revision, but The Reflex tries and fails to dig deep into the weak heart of these Gallagher tunes. In turn, they are inferior versions to already borderline-acceptable songs. Both Keep On Reaching and Black & White Sunshine are hard to get too excited about. Final track Black & White Sunshine is as unoffensive as it gets. A wailing, vibrating instrumental opens it up and covers the grating, whining guitar work. Then again, the green light Gallagher gives this three-piece EP is a confident but passive one. Nobody cares for remixes anymore, they are an art form as good as dead, especially if this Gallagher EP is anything to go by. 

Remix should surely revisit the tone and perspective of the song, not just slap a few glittering and empty effects over the top of already-established tracks. Longer, harsher, duller, weaker. The glory days of the strays, as Black & White Sunshine beckons in. The same message, a different tune to it. A lesser tune, and it must be said the one it replaces was nothing too flashy either. But to be left longing for the original, which had its problems but proved to be immediately forgettable, is a striking work on which Richard Norris now has his name. One in a series of pointless EPs from Gallagher, whose efforts on the shorter form of release are as half-baked as expected. Even those who adapt his work are struggling with it.  

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

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