Sound — 9
If, like me, you have been waiting for the new Oasis album for what seems like a century, you were probably as plesently surprised as I was to hear that they have hwit a sound that packs all the punch and energy of Definately Maybe crossed with the maturity of Heathen Chemistry. To start off with 'Turn Up The Sun' is as inspired a decision as making 'Rock N' Roll Star' the opening track of their debut album, and from then on the booming sound flows out out. It seems as though for the first time they have made an album where bass has become an essential part rather than playing a minor role. No doubt they have one of the most talented players today in Andy Bell, not only for his instrumentual talent but his writing. Gem Archer has also shown how he is not just an also-ran in the Oasis set up. 'Keep The Dream Alive' compliments Liam's snarling voice brilliantly, something that has not been done consistently since the early days. Clearly Liam is back to his best with his gravelly voice and powerful sound. Noel blasts out riffs that seem to come and go so quickly you wonder if they happened at all and when you add Bell and Archer you have an amazing mix, almost bluey in places. The uplifting 'Mucky Fingers' is almost a carbon copy of 'Force Of Nature' from 3 years ago, but this time Noel doesn't have his stash smoked. Instead, it seems he's had it destroyed. The best song on the album is 'The Importance Of Being Idle', a song which Noel described to NME as the best he'd ever written, and we can see why. If you read something like that, you are 9 times out of ten completely dissapointed when you hear it. Not so with this track you immediately fall in love with it. It's exactly what Oasis would have wanted to sound like 12 years ago when they were playing small gigs at the Boardwalk. Mature, but pulsating. Overall, Oasis have an amazing sounding album thanks largely to the fine musicians each of them are. Ad Zak Starkey to the mix, and 'Don't Believe The Truth' becomes an instant return to rock n' roll form.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrically, Oasis are never faltered. Even the widely discredited 'Be Here Now' had it's high points. So if Oasis are on form, you better watch out. Andy Bell and Gem Archer give Oasis a writing line up which already includes both Gallagher brothers. Be afraid, be very afraid. Liam's writing is nothing on Noel's, however you can tell that the youngest Gallagher has learnt alot from his brother over the 12 years he has allowed him to rule the lyric roost. 'Loves Like A Bomb' didn't blow me away, however if I listened to it in summer then I would probably think different. It's a song that you can tell when and almost where Liam wrote it, whereas with every song Noel pens you imagibe him in his room at 21 like in the day of Definately Maybe. Liam gives Oasis a new sound, a new direction even, with his lyrics and you can tell that Noel has started to have some belief in him. Noel's lyrical triumph on the album comes from 'Mucky Fingers' more than 'The Importance Of Being Idle' or 'Lyla', with its pulsating beat emphasising everything Noel sings. 'Lyla' is not Oasis' best song in my opinion, and I'd pick alot over it in my top 10. However, it works because the album does not rely on it to be a success. Finally, the beautiful 'Let There Be Love' tops off the album. In one 4 minute outburst, the Oasis lads pour their hearts out in a lyrical gem which started life as a b-side from Noel's vastly impressive repetoire. Originally recorded under the name 'It's a Crime', Noel rewrote it and made it Don't Believe The Truth's Married With Children, but this time hes not saying goodbye I'm going home, hes already there with the wife in froint of the fire. Not vintage Oasis, but what you want from a band who is growing old gracefully.
Overall Impression — 9
The album on the whole is a triumph, a slap in the face for any who doubted Oasis after Heathen Chemistry. They returned to their snarling, rock n' roll heritage with songs like 'Turn Up The Sun' and 'Meaning Of Soul', but has shown signs that they are a mature and overall more rounded band. Noel gracefully gives up some of the songwriting duties, which ultimately leads to his songs becoming masterpieces in their own right. The only problem I would have is the reaction to it. Many wrote off Oasis before the album even came out, but then ever since they were young the Gallaghers have been write offs. Thats what makes them so great now. My other problem is that people are now treating them like absolute royalty. In my opinion, they are still the boys who played to 20 people at the Boardwalk every Thursday night, but to many they're designer. They bring out a song, and they have to buy it. If I heard 'Lyla' in a pub from a live band, I would have left. Only the fact that they are performing it entices me to listen. Noel saves it thought, with an otherwise superb album. One which they would have wanted to make 12 years ago as the unknowns they now most certainly arent. Top stuff, lads.