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Noel Gallagher Drafts Johnny Marr for New Single, ‘Pretty Boy’

Gallagher's band the High Flying Birds will have a new album out sometime next year
photo: Sharon Latham

Amid another round of feuding with his brother Liam, Noel Gallagher has reactivated his band the High Flying Birds for the new single “Pretty Boy,” which features fellow U.K. guitar hero Johnny Marr of the Smiths. It’s the first taste of the High Flying Birds’ next album, which will be out sometime next year.

“Pretty Boy” is quite the earworm, sustaining a tense, five-minute groove throughout a variety of synth-and drum machine-flecked production flourishes. Marr’s unmistakeable cascading guitar lines add to the drama, and while Noel’s lyrics are as inscrutable as ever (“Can you delete my number? I wanna get me free / I wanna change my star sign / Because it don’t suit me”), the song keeps chugging and chugging on the back of its killer hook.


“Pretty Boy” was recorded at Gallagher’s London studio with co-producer Paul “Strangeboy” Stacey. It follows the New Year’s Day release of a demo version of “Trying To Find a World That’s Been and Gone: Part 1,” although it’s unknown if that song will appear on the new album.

Gallagher started High Flying Birds in 2010 after stepping away from Oasis, and has released three albums and several EPs with the group. The as-yet-untitled new album is the follow-up to 2017’s Who Built The Moon? 

Gallagher has yet to unveil tour plans, but will participate in a 90th birthday tribute to legendary artist Sir Peter Blake on Dec. 2 at London’s Royal Festival Hall, along with Madness, the Who’s Roger Daltrey, the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, Paul Weller, and Baxter Dury.