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Noel Gallagher Announces New Album And … His Divorce

Musician split with his partner of 22-plus years, Sara MacDonald
Photo: Sharon Latham

What a 48 hours it has been for Noel Gallagher. In the span of two days, the former Oasis guitarist/songwriter announced he and his partner of 22-plus years were getting divorced and then hours later that he’d release a new album in June and play a host of major U.K. live dates.

Gallagher’s fourth album with High Flying Birds, Council Skies, is due June 2 on Sour Mash Records. Following the recent lead single “Pretty Boy” featuring the Smiths’ Johnny Marr, the next preview out today (Jan. 17) is “Easy Now, augmented by a video featuring Milly Alcock from HBO’s House of the Dragon.

Especially in the U.K. tabloids, it was hard not to feel like the news was overshadowed by the developments in Gallagher’s personal life. Gallagher and Sara MacDonald revealed their split on Sunday, ending a partnership that began in 2000 and was celebrated with marriage in 2011. They have two sons, 15 and 12.

Gallagher will aim to keep the focus on his new music, which is said to be an homage to his upbringing in Manchester. The artwork finds Gallagher set up as if to perform in Maine Road Football Stadium, the former home of his “beloved” soccer team Manchester City FC.


“It’s going back to the beginning. Daydreaming, looking up at the sky and wondering about what life could be — that’s as true to me now as it was in the early ‘90s,” Gallagher says. “When I was growing up in poverty and unemployment, music took me out of that,” he says. “Top of the Pops on TV transformed your Thursday night into this fantasy world, and that’s what I think music should be. I want my music to be elevating and transforming in some way.”

The digital and deluxe limited editions of Council Skies include remixed by the Cure’s Robert Smith, Pet Shop Boys, and a Radio 2 Session version of Oasis’ “Live Forever.” Marr plays on two other tracks on the album.

Gallagher and High Flying Birds will play six shows in the U.K. in July and August, including a homecoming show in Manchester on Aug. 26.

Here is the track list for Council Skies:

I’m Not Giving Up Tonight
Pretty Boy
Dead to the World
Open the Door, See What You Find
Trying To Find a World That’s Been And Gone
Easy Now
Council Skies
There She Blows!
Love Is a Rich Man
Think of a Number
We’re Gonna Get There in the End (bonus track)

Here are Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds’ U.K. tour dates:

July 21: Buckinghamshire (PennFest)
July 28: London (Crystal Palace Bowl)
Aug. 5: Saffron Waldon, Essex (Audley End)
Aug. 19: Monmouthshire (Caldicot Castle)
Aug. 20: Sedgefield, Country Durham Hardwick Festival)
Aug. 26: Manchester (Wythenshawe Park)