With Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist Noel Gallagher expanded on his former band Oasis’ skill at combining Beatlesque melodies and the power of the Who into arena-sized songs. On their 2011 self-titled debut, the group emphasized the craftsmanship of Gallagher’s songwriting, and broadened their horizons on 2015’s harder-edged Chasing Yesterday and 2017’s vividly psychedelic Who Built the Moon? While all of these albums topped the charts, the electronic experiments on the band’s EPs — which included 2020’s Blue Moon Rising — proved Gallagher was still pushing the boundaries of British rock music, while the 2021 compilation Back the Way We Came, Vol. 1: 2011-2021 showcased the sturdy songbook he had assembled outside of Oasis.
As the lead guitarist, songwriter, and occasional lead vocalist in Oasis, Noel Gallagher was at the forefront of the Brit-pop resurgence in the early ’90s. When that band fell apart, he went solo with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, a group that, much like Oasis, combined the melodies of the Beatles with the power of the Who in arena-sized songs over the course of the 2010s.
The band formed in 2010 around the talents of Gallagher, former Oasis keyboard player Mike Rowe, Lemon Trees drummer Jeremy Stacey, and percussionist Lenny Castro. They released their debut single, “If I Had a Gun,” in August 2011, and their eponymous full-length debut followed in mid-October. It reached number one in the U.K., also performing well across the globe and eventually selling over 2.5 million copies.
Where the City Meets the Sky: Chasing Yesterday: The Remixes
In 2014, the single “In the Heat of the Moment” preceded the release of the High Flying Birds’ second album, the self-produced Chasing Yesterday, in 2015. The record featured a guest appearance from guitarist Johnny Marr. The band embarked on a promotional tour that lasted over two years and visited 28 countries. A remix album entitled Where the City Meets the Sky: Chasing Yesterday: The Remixes saw release in the fall of 2015 and featured reworkings by the likes of Andrew Weatherall, and 3D of Massive Attack. Gallagher teamed with producer David Holmes and spent two years making Who Built the Moon?, a 2017 album that revived his love of noisy neo-psychedelia. The record debuted at number one on the U.K. charts, making it the tenth chart-topping album in a row for a Gallagher-led band.
During the course of 2019, the High Flying Birds embarked on tours of the U.S. with Smashing Pumpkins and Australia with U2, while also headlining festivals. In addition, they released a series of EPs that built upon the music on Who Built the Moon? and explored electronic sounds and danceable tempos alongside more traditional Gallagher fare. The first of these was Black Star Dancing, which arrived in June; it was followed in September by This Is the Place. Another EP, Blue Moon Rising — which featured the single “Wandering Star” — appeared in March 2020. Gallagher celebrated the tenth anniversary of his High Flying Birds with the 2021 compilation Back the Way We Came, Vol. 1: 2011-2021.