C’MON YOU KNOW (Deluxe Edition)
A few months before releasing his third solo album, Liam Gallagher told Apple Music to expect a little of the unexpected. “Some of it’s odd,” he said. “I’d say 80 percent of the record is peculiar but still good, and 20 percent of it is classic. If you’re gonna do something a bit different, do it in these times, and if people don’t dig it, blame it on COVID.” On C’MON YOU KNOW, “odd” doesn’t quite mean a journey into the outer rims of acid trance or vaporwave, but, chiefly guided by trusted producer/songwriter Andrew Wyatt, Gallagher is noticeably freer of spirit. After two albums of bedding himself into a solo career with gently psychedelic rock that didn’t range too far from Oasis or Beady Eye, Liam is now deftly toggling between polemic punk and weightless dub on “I’m Free.” He told Apple Music that he’d bought a tepee to help cope with the claustrophobia of lockdown and, by building from a children’s choir to a grand, strobing finale, opener “More Power” suggests he spent those outdoor nights picking up signals from Spiritualized’s richly orchestrated cosmos. Other more intrepid moments include deeply psychedelic pop (“Better Days”), elegantly psychedelic soul (“The Joker”), and limber funk rock (“Diamond in the Dark”). While the music peers in new directions, the voice remains unmistakable—and in decent health. There’s a familiar snarl and swagger to “I’m Free” and the trippy, indie groove of “Don’t Go Halfway,” but Gallagher’s sometimes-overlooked warmth and reassurance are also regularly in play. He never likes slapping definitive meaning on the words he sings, preferring that listeners take what they want from the songs, and in a post-pandemic age there’s plenty to draw from the piano-driven heart-tugger “Too Good for Giving Up”: “Look how far you’ve come/Stronger than the damage done/Step out of the darkness unafraid.” During “Don’t Go Halfway,” he sings, “You were all thumbs/Through the dark days/When your time comes/Don’t go halfway.” On a record released a few months before his 50th birthday, Gallagher is heeding his own advice and emerging as a man whose horizons stretch further than ever.