CD: Liam Gallagher - Why Me? Why Not. The songs may remain the same, but the delivery has a little m

From The Arts Desk

Liam Gallagher's 2017 solo debut, As You Were, took everybody by surprise. Not only did it show Gallagher Jnr to be still

of capturing the public's imagination, but it also revealed him to be a much more capable writer than anyone had suspected. Two years on, things have (slightly) changed. Each song on Why Me? Why Not. has been co-written with a one or two superstar songwriters, leaving Liam to concentrate on his inimitable vocals.

Unsurprisingly, the basic formula remains the same. There may have been some tinkering around the edges - a little more classic rock and a fraction less Beatles - but anyone hoping for jazz saxophones or mandolins will be disappointed. What stops the record from descending into a stodgy Oasis homage is the excellence of Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt’s production.

Opener "Shockwave" bursts out of the gates sounding like a close cousin to Oasis's "Lyla", and the album closes with the raw, woozy "Gone". The best tracks, though, aren't the hard-rockers, they're the quieter moments. "Alright Now" conjures up the spirit of George Harrison for a trippy journey through Liam's mind. Better still, is the Lennon pastiche "Once", whose heartfelt delivery somehow stops you bothering about the lack of originality. Even the spectacularly awkward lyrics (sample: "the freedom we want...feels so uncool/ just clean the pool/ send the kids to school") possess a strange charm.

Or at least they do if you buy into the idea of Liam exploring his vulnerable side. That was the basis of the recent documentary, As it Was, which portrayed Liam as a man down on his luck and being forced to grow up. The journey made him seem unexpectedly endearing. It's a similar story here. Why Me? Why Not. may be essentially flawed but it's still undeniably likeable.

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