It may be the closest Liam Gallagher has come to apology. “In my defense all my intentions were good,” the ex-Oasis singer asserts on his solo debut, in a song that shares its title with Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.” “But I am a dreamer by design,” Gallagher adds, as good a description of kamikaze stardom as anything he sang in Oasis, from his brother Noel’s songbook. Eight years after that band’s messy breakup, Liam puts his signature voice on the line in a mostly original set of strut and reflection that sticks to Oasis’ template – brawny Britpop, Beatle-esque ballads – and often invigorates it.
brother, Liam openly quotes his inspirations: “She’s so purple haze”
(the suitably dreamy “When I’m in Need”); “Angels, gimme
shelter/Cause I’m about to fall” (the harder, thumping “You Better
Run”). There are fresh twists on the classicism too: the slashing-riff
charge and falling-vocal chorus in “Greedy Soul”; Gallagher’s
scouring bray swimming through the acid-folk “Chinatown.” As You Were lacks one Oasis specialty –
straight-up helter skelter. But if the album is a few steps shy of his old
band’s best, it has Gallagher writing like he means it and singing like his
dream isn’t over.