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Noel Gallagher’s ‘Blue Moon Rising’: What we learned from the High Flying Birds EP

Noel Gallagher performs at the May Day concert with the High Flying Birds on Labour Day in Rome, Italy in 2019.
Noel Gallagher performs at the May Day concert with the High Flying Birds on Labour Day in Rome, Italy in 2019. CP Images

Rather than putting out an entirely new studio album, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (or NGHFB) — the solo act of former Oasis mastermind Noel Gallagher — has just dropped Blue Moon Rising, its third EP in nine months.

The 26-minute record was released on Friday morning through Sour Mash, Gallagher’s own label, and follows 2019’s Black Star Dancing and This Is the Place EPs.

Blue Moon Rising features five songs, however only three of those are brand-new originals: Wandering Star, Come On Outside and the title track.

The remaining two songs are previously unheard remixes of the title track. There’s a 7″ Remix as well as one dubbed The Reflex Revision.

Additionally, Gallagher has hinted that Blue Moon Rising will be the last release from the High Flying Birds before taking a lengthy break later this year.

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In celebration of its release, here are some things we learned about the EP:

Noel wrote Blue Moon Rising casually at Abbey Road Studios while recording another EP

In a press release ahead of its debut, Gallagher, 52, revealed he wrote the song in late 2018 during the studio sessions for the first EP.

“It was written in Abbey Road last November on the same day I wrote Black Star Dancing,” he said.

Singer-songwriter Noel Gallagher looks on during an interview with Spanish international news Agency Efe in Madrid, Spain, on Aug. 9, 2019.
Singer-songwriter Noel Gallagher looks on during an interview with Spanish international news Agency Efe in Madrid, Spain, on Aug. 9, 2019. CP Photo/EPA/Chema Moya

“It’s that good,” the Mancunian rockstar said of his quickly written creation, adding: “It sounds like it took 5.4 people to come up with it.

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“It’s already a live standard, and we haven’t even played it yet.”

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It’s the band’s most diverse release to date

Sure, Blue Moon Rising may be short, but that’s how it was intended to be… it’s an EP, and yet, with only five tracks — two of which are remixes — it still feels like the group’s most divergent release in their decade-long career.

Firstly, the title track itself throws things back to the previous two EPs. Much like the original songs featured on Black Star Dancing and This Is the Place, Blue Moon Rising is driven by an infectious bass groove and carried through with tinges and fragments of not only 1980s synth-pop music but ’90s rock ‘n’ roll, too.

The second song, Wandering Star, on the other hand, is comparable to a Christmas classic thanks to not only the recurring sound of chiming bells but its upbeat and slow-paced melodies accompanied by soothing, harmonious backing vocals, which consist of many a “la, la, la.”

Think the Christmas-inspired sound might have been coincidental? Well, that’s possible, however it was released as a single last November, only a month ahead of the annual holiday.

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It was also paired with a colourful and entertaining music video that captures the love story of a shopping mall Santa.

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This EP blends nostalgia with familiarity

Thanks to the aforementioned manifold of sounds and genre-bending approach, Blue Moon Rising might instil nostalgia upon some of its listeners, taking them back to the days of British new wave pioneers like New Order, Duran Duran, Primal Scream or even a more upbeat version of The Sisters of Mercy.

While the two predecessors in this trilogy of NGHFB EPs throw it back to the “cosmic pop” sounds of the group’s third and latest album, Who Built the Moon? (2017) — as Gallagher once told the BBC — many are considering Blue Moon Rising to be a true “return to form” for the band, thanks to its rock numbers.

On top of that, it seems the High Flying Birds have taken a page from the books of their first two albums and utilized some of their older production values — which are vaguely reminiscent of the latter half of Oasis’ discography.

The essence of the songwriting itself, however, differs in the sense that each of the songs looks back upon different eras of not only the band’s back catalogue but those of some of classic bands from the enriched British music scene over the last four decades.

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Much to his distaste, Gallagher may have accidentally pleased Oasis fans

While Gallagher has said in the past — including on an episode of Hot Ones — that he’s not trying to appease Oasis fans with his solo music, Come On Outside, the EP’s final track, ironically, might just be the perfect song for Oasis fans.

Released last week as the EP’s third and final single, the track has fans in awe, suggesting it’s the best NGHFB song since the era of their sophomore album, Chasing Yesterday (2015).

Upon releasing the track, the much-beloved songwriter wrote: “So I’m rummaging down the back of the couch and found this f–ker!” suggesting that it was written a while ago, perhaps even years prior.

Some other fans are saying they’d even love to hear Liam Gallagher — Noel’s younger brother, longtime rival and former Oasis bandmate — singing the chorus instead, as it supposedly fits his style.

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So does this EP hint at an Oasis reunion?

Not in the slightest. However, after a 2022 reunion was teased by his younger brother on Twitter, Gallagher seems to have come out of his shell to not only deny the rumours but poke fun at his younger brother, 47-year-old Liam — who, in the last few years, has been notorious for antagonizing him.

Could their playful banter mean an Oasis reunion? Probably not, but it’s been more than a decade since the Supersonic rockers split, and fans are still speculating it will happen “soon.”

Gallagher, however, told Hot OnesSean Evans: “I don’t wake up in the morning or go to bed at night worrying about what fans want. If I were worried about that, I wouldn’t have left Oasis in the first place.”

Oasis stars Liam and Noel Gallagher pictured at the Q Magazine music awards in London, England on April 30, 2003.
Oasis stars Liam and Noel Gallagher pictured at the Q Magazine music awards in London, England on April 30, 2003. Fiona Hanson - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

“I don’t care what fans want,” he added. “F–k ’em.”

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So what’s next for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds?

Well, after a string of dates across the U.K. in March and June, it doesn’t seem like the band has anything planned.

Back in January, Gallagher said he was considering taking a “big chunk of time off” from touring after the current promotional cycle, according to Radio X.

”I’m ready to call it a day,” he reportedly told Matt Morgan of the Funny How? podcast, adding: ”I can see myself not producing as much material and touring every five to six years as opposed to every two or three.”

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“I’m 52 now,” Gallagher continued. “By the time I finish the next tour, I’ll be 58, so that’s nearly 60. You don’t know how you’re going to feel physically. You’re gonna think, ‘Can I be f–king arsed to be away from the kids?'”

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Blue Moon Rising, the full EP, is now available through all major streaming platforms.

Additionally, limited-edition vinyl formats of the record can be bought physically through the official NGHFB website.

Blue Moon Rising tracklist:

1. Blue Moon Rising
2. Wandering Star
3. Come On Outside
4. Blue Moon Rising (The Reflex Revision)
5. Blue Moon Rising (7″ Mix)

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca
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