So I have listened to all 15 tracks, and watched the 4 videos on the bonus version, several times, so that you don't have to. The most telling item is a twelve minute video entitled 'RAK Them Out' (no, I don't know what it stands for but maybe it flew by me) where the various band members of this phoenix from the flames of Oasis talk about being in "the best Rock and Roll band in the world", what an underrated genius Liam Gallagher is, how enormously they enjoyed themselves making the album and accompanying photo shoot, and how much they're looking forward already to the second Beady Eye album. Well, they must be the happy few.
Possibly the most revealing comment is when one of the band says incredulously that it's amazing how easily the songs emerged and that this album is quite simply made up of the first 13 songs they wrote. Perhaps they could have tried harder is the obvious response, although I'm not sure the result would have been any different.
On the 'RAK Them Out' video Liam has an innocent air which is almost touching and offsets to a certain extent the arrogance of the whole affair, and it's true that he sings a lot better than he did on the last few Oasis albums. But that's about the only positive to be found - for the rest, it's an endurance test for the listener.
I don't know what different gear Beady Eye are on exactly but it has created a totally false impression of speeding - the album's pace is sedate throughout and that makes it possibly the longest hour and ten minutes in music history. There are some unbelievably awful songs - 'Millionaire', 'For Anyone', 'Kill For A Dream', 'Beatles And Stones' and 'Man Of Misery' are all particularly lame and the two songs over 6 minutes long - 'Wigwam' and 'The Morning Son' are simply an exercise in gross over-indulgence.
What is most striking is the complete lack of self awareness shown by any of the band in assessing what they have created, and perhaps the album should have been more appropriately called 'Hubris'. Its main effect - and something I would hitherto have thought impossible - has been to make me feel really sorry for Noel Gallagher that he has dragged this dead weight around for the last few years. Then again, perhaps this is simply an elaborate setup for the inevitable Oasis reunion.
(Ed's note: Simon originally gave this zero but I have charitably given the band a single point)
STREAM: BEADY EYE - Beatles And Stones by Pias France
Purchase 'Different Gear, Still Speeding' from amazon.co.uk, iTunes etc.