Oasis - Don't Believe the Truth
The new Oasis album has arrived. Rather than put together a coherent prose I thought I’d write out the notes I made on each track during my first listen, so here goes (see the side panel on the left for the track titles):
1 - A nice slice of psychedelia, with some good strings overlaid providing a nice sound and a good little intro to the album. The outro makes me think vaguely of 60s TV series with harpsichord playing (though we have electric guitar tinkling through this one).
2 - Velvet Underground rip-off and not in a particularly original way. Noel might as well sing "I'm...Waiting for my man" here. Frankly I'd expect better.
3 - 'The single' actually sounding the most original thing so far. Personally I love the intro and it doesn't particularly remind me of Street Fightin' Man, but the main song's a bit dull. There seems to be an extended outro I don't remember from the radio that's pure Beatles rip-off with piano and other overdubs.
4 - Liam's song has a nice rhythm and is short but please: less of the Lennon vocal effects. Nothing special. Ho hum.
5 - Noel seems to have been getting lessons from Supergrass' Gaz on this one. It's a chirpy jangly number that basically sounds like an offcut from 'In It for the Money' with its 'Late in the Day' style.
6 - Liam gives us the best song of the album shocker. No really. 100 seconds of simple driving rhythm that is around just long enough for us to enjoy it but gets the hell out before it outstays its welcome
7 - Liam again with a simple song that spends the last 30 seconds doing something odd. Actually, depsite some fairly duff lyrics its simplicity is its biggest draw and though it's nothing special, it doesn't nag at me and remind me of another, better track.
8 - Unfortunately we fall back again here with a track that appears to be a total rip off of Golden Brown in an echo chamber with a depressing tilt. Some nice effects in the solo, though, and it's good to not hear a standard boring solo.
9 - Strangely, Andy Bell gives us probably the most 'Oasis' tune of the album, and I mean that in the worst, ‘Be Here Now’ senses of the word. It's long, it's a big Beatles rip off (melody, drum beat, Lennon-esque vocals) and drags and drags. Turgid is the word, I think.
10 - Or did I speak to soon. Gem's only solo effort on the album is at least shorter than Bell's 'Keep the Dream Alive' but it still sounds like someone who's been listening to Rubber Soul a lot.
11 - A 'slowy': often a one way trip to boredom, especially when the chord progression was old twenty years ago. The chorus melody is reminiscent of 'Slide Away', unfortunate given this isn't as good. There's a Noel vs. Liam vocal which might have worked if Liam wasn't still opting for delay-ridden Lennon, while Noel goes for breathy deadness, making it sound like they're on two totally different records. It builds slightly in the middle then gives up and goes back to the quiet stuff of the opening then building a second time with strings and all. But unlike (say) Champagne Supernova it just doesn't really ever get going. Too produced to be the 'simple' ender, too dull to be a 'big' closer.
I have to say I like the booklet. It’s simple with the lyrics to each song done in the same style as a photograph of a poster sort of thing, one a page, and pictures of the four members inside front and back. I note that all but one of the tracks feature Zak Starkey on drums – presumably Ringo’s son, for that extra Beatles-tinge.
This is in no way as bad an album as I expected but it’s not great either. Barring ‘Turn Up the Sun’ and ‘The Meaning of Soul’, they feel, much as Radiohead did on ‘Kid A’, like they’re imitating instead of innovating to try to find a new sound. Oasis seems to have no identity at all now, with almost every song being a pastiche of an older greater track. Previously, Liam and Noel’s vocals were key to the Oasis sound, but Liam’s insistence on covering his voice in echo effects in almost every song, and Noel’s changing style to suit the song mean we are left with nothing to distinguish them. Quite telling that Lyla was the single, given it’s the only one that really has that ‘Oasis’ quality to it and ultimately this just feels like A N Other guitar album.