Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oasis' last before the Gallagher brothers split

Since this was first written, Noel left Oasis, making it the last with both the Gallagher brothers present.

It is a shame, since album #7 finds them ever so close to recapturing that seemingly effortless vibe that made "What's The Story, Morning Glory?" as big a hit as it was. "Be Here Now" followed, riding the wave of excess (and even so, producing IMHO some of their finest tracks to date), and ever since then they haven't quite "had it". "Standing on the shoulder of giants" was too psychedelia-washed, "Heathen Chemistry" reeked of a forced return to "rock", and stumbled all the more for that forced quality, but then Don't Believe the truth showed they were coming back around. And that lands us again on "Dig out your soul".

Right from the opener, the crunchy "Bag it up", this album starts off with a bang and doesn't let up. "Bag it up" even sounds a bit better than the lead single "Shock of the lightning" - still a good track, but a bit too nostalgia-drenched - it almost sounds like something you could have heard on WTSMG - catchy vocal, chorus, tune, all tumbling back and forth on themselves throughout. Moving on, I have read more than a few criticisms of "To Be Where There's Life" sounding too "Harrison-beatle" ripped. A little, perhaps, but unless the sitar flourishes were copied note for note, such accusations are unfounded, and unfair to the piece at hand. Not fond of it myself since it sounds like the album's only misstep, a harkening back to the previously mentioned psychedelia-overdose of SOTSOG. Needless, this doesn't wreck the album as a whole.

This album also benefits from a balance in the writing duties, some Noel, some Liam, and a pair from Gem Archer & Andy Bell. Just as Depeche Mode saw new life breathed in when Dave Gahan lent his pen on some of their 2005 "Playing The Angel", so too does Oasis by continuing to keep their songwriting credits a mixed affair. Where does this leave the album? It is not a timeless super-classic. It is, however, a way-too-long coming-back of what seemed a lost cause after Be Here Now - a consistent Oasis album. It plucks from all the best of all they do well (psychedelic flourishes, catchy rock tunes, flourishy bombast), and never goes too overboard with any one of those things. Scale of 1-10, I give this one a 7.

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