The waiting is the hardest part. And boy have Oasis kept us waiting. One and a half great albums plus a few good singles in 14 years is hardly a wonderful hit rate. Yet so dramatic was their arrival, so astonishing those first two albums, that still, even after Be Here Now, Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants, Heathen Chemistry et al, still we approach each new Oasis record with a quickening of the heartbeat. No matter that since the grand folly of album number three, every release has been greeted with half hearted mumblings of it being -the best thing they’ve done since Morning Glory’, only for it to prove to be a bit rubbish. Still we wait.
So album number seven is upon us and guess what? It’s already being described as the best thing they’ve done since Morning Glory. And guess what? It just might be. One thing’s for sure, this time Oasis sound like they mean it. -Bag It Up’ is a roaring opening track, upbeat and built on a surprisingly groovy rhythm. ‘The freaks are rising up from the floor,’ snarls our Liam. ‘I got my heebie-jeebies in a bag’. Once again, we’re not exactly talking Shakespeare but the band sound vibrant, alive and very rock. After having had your expectations thus raised, it’s hard not to expect the worst and for Oasis to mess it up. Surprisingly they don’t, well not for a bit. -The Turning’ and -Waiting For The Rapture’ move along similar lines – a big rock sound built on a groove. More importantly, they’re fine songs, always at the heart of the band’s success. Not to talk too soon, but we could just be falling in love with Oasis all over again. Even the Gallagher-bynumbers single -The Shock Of The Lightning’ is sounding pretty good as this point.
Don’t look now though, as here comes the first Liam Gallagher composition, in the past a sure sign to head for the exit. -I’m Outta Time’, however, manages to hold its own. As a ballad, it has more than its fair share of Beatles references, even including a snippet of a John Lennon interview, but it’s a strong song that wouldn’t sound out of place as a single. Having convinced us that they’re not going to put a foot wrong, however, they stumble slightly. -(Get Off Your) High Horse Lady’ is actually as bad as the title suggests – another Beatles re-hash with pretty embarrassing lyrics. In short, what we’ve come to expect. It’s not disastrous but is certainly the first track not to really work.
Things do pick up with the psychedelic whirl of -Falling Down’ (all strings, unusual rhythms and production) and Gem’s -To Be Where There’s Life’, a great song built on a bassline worthy of Jah Wobble in his heyday. On an album that doesn’t exactly take too many chances, it’s the closest Oasis come to genuine experimentation and it suits them. Unfortunately, though, it’s also the album’s last great – even good – moment. From this point, Dig Your Own Soul doesn’t just go downhill, it careers off a cliff. The last three tracks are pedestrian at best, awful even in the case of Andy Bell’s -The Nature Of Reality’. It’s all a bit depressing.
Still, as -Soldier On’ crawls to the album’s conclusion, you at least want to put it on again to experience the rush of its first few tracks, and when was the last time Oasis made you want to do that? Is this the sound of Oasis finally rediscovering the plot? Definitely maybe.
Illustration by Nathalie Nysted