Ever since Noel Gallagher first introduced his High Flying Birds project with their self-titled debut LP in 2011, most were quick to pick up on the inevitable Oasis similarities layered within it. Beginning the new venture in the wake of one of music's most notorious breakups was obviously going to take time to come to fruition. But since then the High Flying Birds have become an entity all to themselves, especially after the renowned 2017 record 'Who Built The Moon?' But after almost six years away, they are back to deliver their fourth studio album 'Council Skies', a release pursuing a more matured sound throughout.
Given the pace in which his first three full-lengths were released and the gaping distance between them and this one, 'Council Skies' could easily be seen as the second phase of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, something that becomes extremely apparent on its initial listen. While the older material was focused around a more atmospheric and ambient intention, this new collection is a far more driven and energetic offering. While it still holds plenty of that classic direction in places, this new offering feels like a step into the unknown at places as Gallagher attempts new and interesting ideas that test his songwriting prowess at every turn.
While it doesn't have the same instantly inviting aura that 'Who Built The Moon?' became synonymous for, 'Council Skies' still makes for a rousing return to form. Brimming with a fresh and enticing atmosphere that almost feels like a nod to 90s Radiohead at times, he is continuing to find something captivating to explore throughout.