Whipping fans into a frenzy with his swagger, he was once Britpop’s finest frontman.
But since Oasis split four years ago, Liam Gallagher has been defined by his relationship with older brother Noel.
Most of his interviews are strewn with unflattering comments about his sibling.
He has branded Noel an old man and even compared his looks to those of X Factor’s Louis Walsh.
Noel responded by dubbing Liam ‘a man with a fork in a world of soup’.
Matters can’t have been helped by the relative performances of the brothers’ solo debuts.
Different Gear, Still Speeding, Liam’s first album with his band Beady Eye was out-stripped by Noel’s High Flying Birds, which sold a million in 2011 and put him back into the big arenas he played with Oasis.
Now, at 40 and unveiling his second post-Oasis offering, Liam seems happier for the music to do the talking.
BE offers something different. Out a week on Monday, it is the sound of a Gallagher with something to prove — so much so, that Liam turned up at the London playback and chipped in with his own one-line reviews while dancing along to his new music. ‘F****n’ tune, man!’ was the gist of most comments.
The songs on BE have been framed by new producer Dave Sitek. The New Yorker, who has worked with Scarlett Johansson and Kelis, is no lover of traditional rock.
Having informed Beady Eye they were ‘stuck in 1969’, he has reinvigorated their outlook without watering down their spirit.
The sound is bold and brassy, with the guitars of ex-Oasis men Gem Archer and Andy Bell augmented by electronics, muscular horns, propulsive rhythms and experiments with cassette tapes and iPhone apps.
Liam’s singing is striking, too. With his voice unadorned by special effects, this is one of the most natural- sounding records he has ever made.
There is still, of course, the inevitable dig at Noel. Whereas Beady Eye’s debut album contained Four Letter Word, which alluded to the conflict that ended the 18-year career of Oasis, BE’s most newsworthy track is Don’t Brother Me.
‘Don’t brother me when you’re down,’ sings Liam. ‘I’m sick of all your lying, your scheming and crying.’
But he also offers an olive branch: ‘In the morning, I’ll be calling and hoping you understand / Come on, give peace a chance / Take my hand, be a man.’
So, has the ex-wild man of rock grown up? Not quite. BE opens with Flick Of The Finger, inspired by a London anti-Vietnam war protest in 1968.
There are other brash rockers, too. Second Bite Of The Apple is fast and inventive; Face The Crowd an urgent R&B stomp.
But the best moments are those where producer Sitek’s experimental, freewheeling instincts come in.
Soul Love is wistful and psychedelic, Shine A Light mixes music hall piano, Eastern-tinged guitars and a Bo Diddley beat.
There are moments when the spirit of experimentation falls flat. Overall, though, BE finds its maker infused with a sense of adventure.
If the constant bickering with Noel has pushed Liam to make this much of an effort, then rock’s most bitter sibling rivalry might be having a beneficial effect after all.