The version of this album I listened to for the review was the Deluxe Edition, which carried with it an additional track entitled, Dead in the Water recorded at the RTE 2FM Studios in Dublin. The track was recorded almost by accident, when studio recorders captured Gallagher playing around on his guitar singing to himself, and it evolved into a recording of the full track.
I don’t know whether it says more about Noel or me but that little song, tacked on the end of my copy of the album was the one that made me fall in love with it. Within the album proper the production is sublime throughout, and David Holmes’ work is layered and sophisticated as we’ve come to expect. There are myriad interesting sounds on the album and the more you listen the more it rewards. Despite this I can’t help but wondering if the Noel Gallagher that I loved when I was a teenager is buried a bit too deeply beneath the production values. Certainly on a number of tracks his vocals are located quite deep in the mix.
All in all though, it is a quality album, and it has been lovingly prepared. The production may be complex but it does have soul to it. It’s sonically colourful and has clearly been made with love and attention. Nowhere is this uplifting element evidenced more than in the third track Keep on Reaching and in track seven Black and White Sunshine. I suspect that this is an album that will gradually get its hooks into me more and more, as its complex melodies and sounds work their way through my brain over the next few months.
Score: 8 out of 10
Stand out tracks: Holy Mountain, Keep on Reaching, Black and White Sunshine, The Man Who Built the Moon, Dead in the Water (Deluxe Version only).