Liam Gallagher has always been a frontman. He’s the lairy, legs-apart, tambourine-clutching, bolshy motormouth that plants himself centre stage and stays there. Liam is the mouthpiece, the poster boy, the attitude. He is the default leader of the band despite not playing the instruments or writing the songs. No one questions this, because no one has to.
The problem is, when the band is taken away, Liam is left exposed, no longer able to rely on the backup to fill in the gaps. Now going it solo, Liam is faced with the uncomfortable realisation that he might need more than a big gob to make this work.
‘Wall Of Glass’ marks Gallagher’s first single since the demise of Beady Eye and his first proper solo single ever. The arrangement is very much a meat and two veg kind of affair – all guitars and drums, kind of what you might expect a 2017 Oasis single to sound like. There’s a rockabilly vibe in the whiny guitar riff, the gritty third act breakdown adding a touch of Americana, while the thumping drums ensure this is a track that will make a real impact when played live. Gallagher sounds as distinctive as ever, his vocals cutting through the jagged guitars like a knife, his Mancunian drawl instantly recognisable.
For his new record, Gallagher has enlisted the help of songwriters, claiming he’s not ‘prolific’ enough to pen a record alone. And here lies one of Liam’s weaknesses. For all his eternal gobshiting about ‘real music’, he’s now relying on the same crutches as the people he’s been slating for years. In fact, seeing him in the video for ‘Wall Of Glass’, alone and pouting, there’s something almost Robbie Williams-esque about the whole setup. Stripped of the credibility of having an actual band behind him, is there really any difference between him and the man Noel once labelled ‘the fat dancer from Take That’?
But back to the record, a fairly decent rock track that, predictably, doesn’t hold up to much lyrical scrutiny. “There are obviously bits that could be about Noel,” Gallagher told NME, “and things about me mum, about me kids, about Debbie [his girlfriend]. I’ve come across a lot of people. It’s about me and you and fucking them.” Whatever that means. But reading into ‘Wall Of Glass’, just like most Oasis singles, it doesn’t really seem to be about much at all. Rather, it’s a series of almost random, semi-rhyming words that may as well have been pulled out of a hat. On some level, with its references to thrown stones, it seems to refer to those who have been unkind, warning them that their cruel words will one day come back to haunt them. Of course, this ignores the obvious fact that most of the time, it’s Gallagher himself who’s doing the throwing. But then again, self awareness has never been Liam’s strong suit.
In many ways, ‘Wall Of Glass’ is more of the same from the original Britpop bigmouth, but for Gallagher’s many, many fans, more of the same is no bad thing. For those who yearn for the days when music meant guitars, drums and Parkas, ‘Wall Of Glass’ just about ticks all the boxes.