Instrumentals, imagined soundtracks and cut-and-paste experimentation sets a bracing, perception-shattering course for Who Built The Moon?, the keenly anticipated, world tour-triggering third album from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
While flowing from the same, molten core of melody, songwriting craft and towering self-belief, the album alters the legendary singer-songwriter’s course following a bracing, two-year creative collaboration with renowned producer, DJ and composer, David Holmes. Meeting to work in Belfast and London, Gallagher and Holmes tuned into French psychedelic pop as much as classic electro, soul, rock, disco and dance on a cultured adventure into recorded sound.
Here’s the trailer:
Delivered with thundering self-assurance, first single from the album ‘Holy Mountain’ is out today, with a limited edition collectors’ 12” vinyl available from 24th November. Paul Weller and Johnny Marr both guest, with David Holmes commenting: “People are going to be surprised. I think people love Noel and they’re desperate for him to make a really big, bold, up-tempo beast of a record – a lot of Noel’s music is quite mid-tempo. This one is fun.”
Gallagher says: “It was one of the first things David and I did on the first week of working together. I knew instantly that it was going to be the first single. There’s so much joy in it. Until the day I die, it will be one of my favourite pieces of music that I’ve ever written. It sounds great live. My kids love it, my friends’ kids all love it and I am sure ‘the kids’ will love it.”
Listen to the track on Spotify below:
And here’s the video:
The 12” vinyl release features Holy Mountain accompanied by an exclusive, instrumental version of the track, while the B-Side features Dead In The Water (Live at RTÉ 2FM Studios, Dublin) which catches Gallagher and keyboard player Mike Rowe in-between takes at a Dublin radio station. Such moments are destined to go unrepeated, with Gallagher vowing never to re-record it any other way.
Bursting bubbles of perception, drilling dynamite into cracks between past and present and painting a daring portrait of the artist as a free man, Who Built The Moon? gathers vocalists and guest musicians from around the world to breathe life into 11-tracks finely poised between experimental and a jukebox of ageless influence.
If tracks blipping with ethereal, electronic experimentation and French spoken word start rumours of Gallagher’s restlessness, then instrumentals drifting with a latent, melancholic energy, inspired by European television soundtracks confirm them. Setting fire to familiarity, Gallagher wrote entirely in the studio for the first time, leaping into laboratory conditions and a cut and paste adventure with Holmes, turning his back, at least temporarily, on studied solitude and six strings. The studio door was left open for Paul Weller (organ on “Holy Mountain”) and Johnny Marr (guitar and harmonica on “If Love Is The Law”) to not only bear witness to, but make a mark on a pivotal moment in Gallagher’s ten studio album career.
The results are exhilarating. Setting the placid instrumentals and hypnotic, eastern-influenced grooves alongside gutsy balcony-shakers and widescreen, cinematic walls of sound, “Who Built The Moon?” is an album for the apocalypse, comforting queasy listeners with shades of the Noel Gallagher they rely on, while taking the adventurous dancing with him into the flames.
How would Gallagher respond to control room commands to: “Stop ‘playing’ guitar!” and “Play me a guitar solo you can dance to!”? Secure in the knowledge that the man challenging him – renowned producer, DJ and composer, David Holmes – had a vision to match his undimmed ambition, he entered the same, inventive space.
“The Man Who Built The Moon” crystallises an outsider’s view of the partnership, flooded with lush orchestration and a sense of looming drama. It is the sound of an experienced songwriter supported by an accomplice similarly striving meticulously for perfection, as Gallagher reveals: “We took a keyboard riff we liked from an unused track and added chords. A year later we came to deal with it as a song and when we got to the chorus, David kept asking me to write a new one… again and again and again. I was ready to strangle him. The one that you hear is the eighth attempt and, you know what? The annoying thing is he was right.”
On blue-touch-paper track “Fort Knox” barely a note is sung by Gallagher, instead toying with euphoric incantations, while “It’s A Beautiful World” bubbles with progressive, ambient electronica. “Black & White Sunshine”’s sixties psychedelic pop DNA canvasses for more traditionalist votes, while “Holy Mountain” is a game of ‘spot the obscure sample’ amidst a joyous wall of sound.
Symptomatic of the unhurried back and forth between him and Holmes, Gallagher says of the latter track: “David played me the sample, so I worked out the chords and we demoed just a few, short minutes of it, taking it away on tour and playing with it. When it became a song back in Belfast it was so joyous, I just had to do it justice. What’s more joyous than being in love, baby? So, I wrote a song about love and it’s one of the best things that I’ve ever done.”
Set to be released on 24th November on CD, CD Deluxe Package, LP and Digital courtesy of Sour Mash Records, the keenly anticipated follow-up to the platinum-selling Chasing Yesterday will be followed by prompt live treatment as Gallagher and band announce a 2018 World Tour.
Sun 22 April 2018 Brighton, Brighton Centre
Tue 24 April 2018 Glasgow, The SSE Hydro
Wed 25 April 2018 Aberdeen, BHGE Arena
Fri 27 April 2018 London, The SSE Arena Wembley
Mon 30 April 2018 Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
Tue 1 May 2018 Birmingham, Birmingham Arena
Thu 3 May 2018 Newcastle, Metro Radio Arena
Fri 4 May 2018 Manchester, Manchester Arena
Sun 6 May 2018 Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
Mon 7 May 2018 Leeds, First Direct Arena
Wed 9 May 2018 Belfast, The SSE Arena
Thu 10 May 2018 Dublin, 3Arena
Who Built The Moon by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will be out on November 24th from Sour Mash Records.