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ADRIAN THRILLS: Noel Gallagher looks back in languor at going solo 

NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS: Back the way we came: Vol1 (sour mash)

Rating:

Verdict: Glides by nicely 

GRIFF: One Foot In Front Of The Other (Warner) 

Rating:

Verdict: On the march 

JOAN ARMATRADING: Consequences (BMG)

Rating:

Verdict: Simple and soulful 

When you were the driving force behind the band that defined Britpop, your second act is inevitably going to be overshadowed by your first.

That was the prospect facing Noel Gallagher, the main songwriter in Oasis, after an acrimonious split from his younger brother Liam in 2009.

Theirs was a sibling rivalry that turned toxic, with Noel complaining of ‘verbal and violent intimidation’ after walking out in the middle of a tour. He maintains that he never intended going solo, but a new anthology suggests that the solitary life suits him rather well.

When you were the driving force behind the band that defined Britpop, your second act is inevitably going to be overshadowed by your first. That was the prospect facing Noel Gallagher (pictured), the main songwriter in Oasis, after an acrimonious split from his younger brother Liam in 2009

When you were the driving force behind the band that defined Britpop, your second act is inevitably going to be overshadowed by your first. That was the prospect facing Noel Gallagher (pictured), the main songwriter in Oasis, after an acrimonious split from his younger brother Liam in 2009

Don’t be deceived by the High Flying Birds handle. Noel lifted that from a song by psychedelic San Francisco rockers Jefferson Airplane, but the ‘band’ is essentially his solo toy, his backing musicians an open-ended parade of guests rather than a gang of Manchester lads a la Oasis.

Gallagher’s solo albums, dating back to 2011, have been patchy, but the 18 tracks he’s chosen for this retrospective — out as a double CD (£10), triple CD (£14.50), double vinyl LP (£26.50) and deluxe box (£85) — make for a surprisingly potent whole.

In going it alone, he had one significant advantage over other guitarists thrust into the limelight: he’d already been the lead singer on two No 1 singles, the Oasis hits Don’t Look Back In Anger and The Importance Of Being Idle, so his voice wasn’t an unknown quantity.

He still isn’t a natural showman — Liam takes the honours there — but his solo career has given him the chance to pursue a natural inclination towards more sensitive material. For all his Britpop bravado, he can do sad and reflective remarkably well.

In going it alone, he had one significant advantage over other guitarists thrust into the limelight: he’d already been the lead singer on two No 1 singles, the Oasis hits Don’t Look Back In Anger and The Importance Of Being Idle, so his voice wasn’t an unknown quantity. Pictured, Noel Gallagher

In going it alone, he had one significant advantage over other guitarists thrust into the limelight: he’d already been the lead singer on two No 1 singles, the Oasis hits Don’t Look Back In Anger and The Importance Of Being Idle, so his voice wasn’t an unknown quantity. Pictured, Noel Gallagher 

Back The Way We Came is sequenced largely chronologically, and it traces an arc from his early solo material to the more inventive songs of recent years.

Some of its older numbers were written for (but never recorded by) Oasis, and stick to well-worn, arena-ready styles.

After two classic LPs, his former band fell into a rut, and a solo Noel took some time to blow away those cobwebs. Everybody’s On The Run and If I Had A Gun have a lumpen air, and feel like the work of a man who spent too much time in the studio fretting over guitar sounds. His music improved as he loosened up. Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr guests on Ballad Of The Mighty I, and Riverman embraces a wider stylistic range, with woozy sax and delicate grooves added to the mix.

Holy Mountain, made with film composer David Holmes and remastered here, is a glam rock stomp with a horn section.

The most recent inclusions are the best. Black Star Dancing finds Noel playing disco dad, and there’s a homage to his Manchester roots on A Dream Is All I Need To Get By, a Smiths-like pop tune. There are two new songs, the most notable being his recent single We’re On Our Way Now, an acoustic ballad that builds into an orchestral epic. ‘I hear the morning sun doesn’t cast no shadow,’ sings Noel in a sly nod to a track from Oasis’s landmark (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?. Back the way he came, indeed. 

Rather than capitalising on her show-stealing performance at this year’s BRITs by rushing out a debut album, Sarah Griffiths — aka Griff — has instead opted to bide her time by releasing seven new tracks as a home-produced ‘mixtape’. Like many of us, the 20-year-old has spent the past year working remotely. In her case, that has meant coming up with effortlessly excellent songs at her childhood home in the Hertfordshire village of Kings Langley.

Using borrowed software to construct her own beats, she uses One Foot In Front Of The Other to sing about young love, mental health, friendship and family.

Rather than capitalising on her show-stealing performance at this year’s BRITs by rushing out a debut album, Sarah Griffiths — aka Griff (pictured) — has instead opted to bide her time by releasing seven new tracks as a home-produced ‘mixtape’

Rather than capitalising on her show-stealing performance at this year’s BRITs by rushing out a debut album, Sarah Griffiths — aka Griff (pictured) — has instead opted to bide her time by releasing seven new tracks as a home-produced ‘mixtape’

Her electronic pop wears its heart on its sleeve, and the results sometimes lack polish. But her artful melodies suggest she’s a star built to last. Recent Top 20 hit Black Hole is typical — a portrayal of teenage heartache with an addictive chorus.

Other highlights include a title track offering sensible advice in the face of an uncertain future, and the Billie Eilish-like Remembering My Dreams. As the most recent winner of the BRITs Rising Star award, Griff is following in the footsteps of Adele and Florence Welch. This suggests that she’s up to the task.

Joan Armatrading is 50 years older than Griff, but her ability to convey an intimate message in a simple, soulful pop song is still there on her 22nd album.

There’s nothing quite as memorable as 1976’s Love And Affection or 1980’s Me Myself I on Consequences, but her heartfelt mix of rock, reggae and feel-good funk is both imaginative and reassuring.

She imparts the sense of a woman fully in control of her art on the euphoric love song Already There, while the title track showcases her guitar skill. ‘I’m trying my very best,’ she sings on To Anyone Who Will Listen.

A trailblazer in the 1970s, she’s still well worth hearing.

All albums out now. Griff plays festivals this summer and starts a UK tour at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, on Oct 22 (officialgriff.com).

Good Lorde! This could be the song of summer 

Striking an unexpected note somewhere between surfer dude Jack Johnson’s sunshine pop and George Michael’s Freedom! ’90, Lorde, pictured below, is back with an early contender for song of the summer. Solar Power is the New Zealander’s first single in four years, and its optimistic shuffle indicates that her forthcoming third album is going to be more playful than its predecessors.

Lady Gaga continues to whet the appetite for next week’s ‘reimagined’ tenth anniversary edition of her Born This Way LP by inviting Kylie to reinterpret one of its songs, Marry The Night. Kylie doesn’t mess too much with Gaga’s original, though she does tone down its histrionics in favour of marginally more subtle grooves.

Striking an unexpected note somewhere between surfer dude Jack Johnson’s sunshine pop and George Michael’s Freedom! ’90, Lorde, pictured, is back with an early contender for song of the summer

Striking an unexpected note somewhere between surfer dude Jack Johnson’s sunshine pop and George Michael’s Freedom! ’90, Lorde, pictured, is back with an early contender for song of the summer

Tennessee singer Valerie June has also been revamping an existing tune, turning to Swedish pop group Little Dragon for a sultry spin on Stay, a highlight of her recent The Moon & Stars album, while Michael Kiwanuka’s tender take on Nina Simone’s To Be Young, Gifted And Black is from the soundtrack to director Steve McQueen’s film series Small Axe.

And, with his original band Scissor Sisters still on hiatus, Jake Shears continues his solo path with the showy disco of Do The Television.

The song was written a decade ago for Scissor Sisters, but never released. Shears’ first solo album, out three years ago, leant on New Orleans soul and ballads. This hints that his second will take him back to the clubs. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk