"If you were anticipating audacious swerves into grindcore, drill, chillwave or ragga, then, as Obi-Wan Gallagher sings, these are not the droids you're looking for": Relax lads, Liam Gallagher John Squire is the Brit-Bloke audio catnip you expected

'Madchester' indie legends Liam Gallagher and John Squire pair up for hugely predictable, moderately fun and entertainingly spiky pastiche of former glories

Liam Gallagher & John Squire cover art
(Image: © Parlophone)

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"Mad as fuck". This was Liam Gallagher's succinct review of AISIS, the AI-generated 'alternate reality concept album' conceived by British indie band Breezer last year as an approximation of how a reformed Oasis might sound in 2023. "It’s better than all the other snizzle out there", he added on Twitter, a rather damning critique on the state of British music doubtless shared by the countless legions of Pretty Green-clad Wellends who've propped up the singer's post-Oasis solo career. One year on, it'll be fascinating to hear the singer's verdict on this, THE STONE RAISES, a similarly reverential project conceived by two cheeky Mancunian upstarts aiming to recapture the spirit and swagger of the iconic band who changed the teenage Liam Gallagher's life, were they to exist in the present tense.

We jest, of course. Liam Gallagher John Squire is the much-hyped debut collaborative album between Oasis' former frontman and The Stone Roses' former guitarist, an alliance three decades in the making, the two musicians having first met in Monmouth, Wales in 1994: Oasis were beginning work on Definitely Maybe as The Stone Roses toiled upon the under-rated The Second Coming. And we already know Liam Gallagher's verdict: this 10-song collection, he has already confidently stated, will "blow your mind". While less-invested early reviews of the album have been rather more measured, the critical consensus seems to be that the album is the best work that either man has done in decades which, frankly, isn't exactly the highest bar ever set. 

Even if you haven't heard the album's lead-off single Just Another Rainbow - which reached the heady heights of number 16 in the national charts in January - or its follow-up Mars To Liverpool, you already know exactly what Liam Gallagher John Squire sounds like: The Beatles essentially, with a sprinkling of Led Zeppelin, a dash of 1960s US west coast psychedelia, and a nod and a wink to The Who, Small Faces, Slade and the Sex Pistols. To borrow an advertising slogan from another great British institution, it does exactly what it says on the tin, so if you were anticipating the duo taking any audacious swerves into grindcore, drill, chillwave or ragga then, to quote a line from Obi-Wan Gallagher on the Brit-Blues trudge of I'm A Wheel, "These are not the droids you're looking for." If, however, you're craving some mildly raucous Dad Rock with space for Jools Holland to add some boogie-woogie piano on their inevitable Later... appearance, here, friends, is the sonic catnip you've been waiting for. And, approached with these limited expectations, it's all rather fun.

The tone is set from the opening seconds of Raise Your Hands - not a Bon Jovi cover, relax - a precision-tooled all-together-now anthem ("I can see you, we're aliiiiiiiiive"), cut from the same cloth as Oasis' Gary Glitter-referencing Hello, and blatantly designed as the soundtrack to accompany the launching of 20,000 pints skywards when Gallagher and Squire walk out to a homecoming heroes welcome in a Manchester stadium at some point in the future. One Day At A Time is essentially The Stone Roses-meets-Paint It Black, with Gallagher, in that fabulously sincere way of his, making prosaic platitudes such as "Everybody needs someone to love" sound revelatory and brand new, before inserting the deliciously spicy putdown "I know you're happy in your suburban trance / You should have fucked me when you had the chance". Squire's lyrics also give Gallagher a chance to re-employ his best John Lennon snarl when singing "Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and fuck you too" on Make It Up As You Go Along.

Elsewhere, Just Another Rainbow will be played over the BBC's slow-mo montage of Phil Foden/Bukayo Saka goals and Harry Kane/Harry Maguire tears when England are dumped out of Euro 2024 in July, and the agreeably stroppy I'm So Bored is a mischievously self-aware and tongue-in-cheek pub rock stomper which opens with the lyrics "I'm so bored with this programme, I'm so bored with this song". And then, to close, a gentle comedown, as brows are soothed and heart rates restored with the hippy-dippy pastoral psychedelia of Mother Nature's Song, which sounds like pre-Spinal Tap beat combo The Thamesmen after their first brown acid trip.

Famously, ahead of a Manchester United home game against Spurs back in the day, Alex Ferguson's pre-match talk to his players consisted solely of the words, "Lads, it's Tottenham", a statement with the unspoken sub-text, 'Don't worry, we've got this.' For the British men of a certain age that this album is aimed at, the names on the cover here will offer similar reassurance. Relax blokes, the songs remain the same, they got this.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.