New Beginnings

CD Review: Don't Believe the Truth (Big Brother) by Oasis

Heathen Chemistry Every time a new Oasis record is about to come out, the gobby band, their gobbier fans and the nation's deluded hacks collude in the hopeful pre-release myth that England will once again bellow along from the rafters in unified voice. Since 1994’s What’s the Story (Morning Glory) this has never happened. Not even nearly. And this is Oasis' fourth album since then;  their sixth in total.  

So, er, what’s the story this time? It's not exactly a return to barnstorming form (those days are gone, my friend) but it is their most coherent collection in a decade. It also marks something of a mature shift: out go the turgid, by-numbers rockers (well, mostly) and in comes a semblance of band democracy; the first track to come jangling out of the speakers is Andy Bell composition Turn Up the Sun.  Chugging pub singalong Lyla sees Liam ripping the warm, living shit out of the lead vocal to his most convincing effect in years. The monkey gaited frontman also chips in a trio of tracks, including a breezy, waltz-like ballad (Love Like a Bomb) and a nasty, hammering, quasi-Stones thing that clocks in at just 1.43 (The Meaning of Soul). They're all rip-offs, as befitting the Oasis canon, but at least the Tazmanian Devil, as he's been known within the band, is trying.

Supersonic or M.O.R. star? Overall, this album provokes adjectives not normally associated with the Gallagher brothers: reflective, looser, warmer. It's certainly no masterpiece, but it is the band's first record in recent memory that suggests a turnaround. It's only taken them four indulgent albums – a luxury most bands would never get away with – but Oasis have started to forge a productive future for themselves, rather than continue mindlessly down the path of aging self-parody. About bloody time, too.

Critical Quibbling

“Their best in almost a decade” -- Mojo

“There's certainly nothing here that'll match 'Wonderwall' or 'Live Forever' for pub karaoke ubiquity, but with this record Oasis are at least tentatively stretching themselves in new directions” -- New Musical Express

-- Published by In Residence magazine, 2005

-- An interview with Gem 


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