Liam Gallagher + John Squire – Liam Gallagher + John Squire

Hugely enjoyable swagger from two all-out greats...

Guffaws of derision were audible upon the release of ‘Just Another Rainbow’ in early January, the first offering from the former Oasis frontman and legendary The Stone Roses guitarist. Those cynics are likely to find more targets of mirth across the album, not without some cause; for all his strengths as a musician and songwriter, Squire’s lyrics (he wrote the entire album) would have benefitted from another polish. But few can sell nonsensical lyrics with more conviction than Liam Gallagher who – obviously impressed – is in sky-scraping form throughout.

After an astonishing run of success in his solo career, kudos to Gallagher for shaking things up, even if the price was achieving his dream of (nearly) being part of The Stone Roses. Liam infamously claimed the album was “better than ‘Revolver’” but was about eight months out; with its carefree vibrancy and energy, it’s closer in spirit to ‘Rubber Soul.’ 

Exposure will dilute the impact of those lyrical faults (it’s not difficult to imagine a compliant audience reciting the colours of the rainbow with gusto) and Squire remains an astonishing musician, filling every nook and cranny with licks or riffs. The freewheeling, honky-tonk ‘You’re Not The Only One’ finds him holding nothing back, a slice of Imperial Era ‘Exile On Main Street’ Stones for the 21st century.

Likewise swaggering opener ‘Raise Your Hands’, is a call to arms for the faithful as Gallagher gleefully declares “we’re alive!”, radiating positivity like the sound of sunshine, every second of its four minutes squeezed for something new. Similarly, on the vivacious ‘Mars To Liverpool’ (“I’m waiting for the storm to run out of rain”) Squire crams more into the opening bars than most guitarists do on a full album before a widespread, arms-aloft chorus.

Both Gallagher and Squire proudly wear their influences on their sleeve, and nowhere is the latter’s deference to Jimi Hendrix more apparent than on the grizzled, bluesy verse of ‘I’m A Wheel’, which precedes a fittingly rolling chorus, while the brazenness of the line “these are the droids you’re looking for”, can only be applauded. Elsewhere, the stomping ‘Love You Forever’ is little more than a jam, a simple song in concept but gloriously indulgent in execution, conjuring up images of smoke-filled, lava-lamp-lit rooms. 

‘I’m So Bored’ goes against the overall grain of optimism, little more than a diatribe about modern culture (“I live in my phone”), while the slight ‘Make It Up As You Go Along’ evokes the Kinks in its whimsy. Closing proceedings, ‘Mother Nature’s Song’ is suitably pastoral but – once again – with licks galore. Psychedelic rock in its original form, the album is unlikely to win the duo many new fans, but as a testament to enjoying life, it’s unrivalled.

7/10

Words: Richard Bowes

Dig This? Dig Deeper: The Beatles, The Stone Roses, Tame Impala 

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