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Oasis – [Album]

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Friday, 11 June 2010

In some ways, it's almost unbelievable that Oasis' core line-up was only together for fifteen years. The band's stack of headlines and tabloid press is literally leagues deep; the tempestuous relationship that siblings Liam and Noel Gallagher have run through has always seemed to have had a camera lens in front of it. It's been a pretty incredible ride – from Liam sitting in the balcony heckling his brother through an MTV Unplugged performance in 1996 to the final fight backstage before a show on August 28, 2009 that culminated in Noel Gallagher's departure from the band – and fans have reveled in every minute; poring over the periodicals to get a sense of what might happen next. It was a vicious game, but perhaps it might be perfect and ironic that now the band has collected all of its' biggest singles for one two-disc comp – and better than the lion's share of the songs on Time Flies… happen to be Noel's compositions. Sure – there are a couple of token inclusions on the set penned by Liam bu, forgetting that Time Flies… simply collects Oasis' singles that were released in the UK, one almost has to wonder if someone wasn't trying to make a point here.

Regardless of any possible sinister undercurrents, there's no arguing about whether or not Time Flies… is a solid set, because each song on it has been a monolithic hit that helped to establish Oasis as the tabloid darlings and global dynamo they are. Beginning with “Supersonic”, each UK single gets cherry-picked from every album from Definitely Maybe through to Dig Out Your Soul in as short an order as seven albums certified collectively at eight-three times platinum will allow, but there's something of a bizarre continuity to it; both of the discs that comprise this set ignore chronological order, but it's almost as if the track selection was made by two different people because each charts a siimlar progression through the band's catalogue, but with different songs. Disc one runs from “Supersonic” through “Live Forever” through “Wonderwall” and “Hindu Times” with stops in Heathen Chemistry (“Stop Crying Your Heart Out,” “Songbird”) in between, but then it backtracks to hit “All Around The World” (from Be Here Now) to close out the session. It's a good set and a nice flow, but then Disc Two operated in a similar manner beginning with “Champagne Supernova” (from (What's The Story) Morning Glory?) and tripping through to end where all three singles from Dig Out Your Soul just feel sort of tacked on. Again, Disc Two rolls along as well as its' mate did, but it seems to bounce around haphazardly through the band's chronology. Why – other than maybe for the sake of a pretty decent flow between tracks – Time Flies plays the way it does may never be known, but it's hard to complain about it. As a comp, Time Flies… is a good and rewarding run-time complete with two songs (“Whatever” and “Lord Don't Slow Me Down”) which have never been released on a full-length album before (although both did chart as singles) and, because each disc does play well apart from the other, an argument could be made for fans getting two complete experiences in one here. Regardless, outside of a couple of missing tracks (“Morning Glory” is absent, but it was never released as a single in the UK), Time Flies plays like a decent Oasis sampler and serves its' purpose in that way. It's bittersweet and does leave a bit to be desired but, really, that just suits for how the band came apart.

Artist:

www.oasisinet.com/

www.myspace.com/oasis

Album:

Time Flies 1994 – 2009 comes out on June 15, 2010 through Big Brother/Columbia/Sony Music. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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Oasis – [Album]

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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Since appearing with Definitely Maybe in 1994, tabloids the world over have (in some cases) built empires upon the tempestuous sibling rivalry of Oasis’ brothers Gallagher and the exploits that such behavior has driven them to. Some of those stories – like when Noel took the stage alone to perform a high-profile acoustic show because his brother was AWOL only to discover that Liam was in attendance and heckling him very loudly from the back of the room – are worth their weight in gold as it has forced both men to compete and bring their best games when it comes time to record and release a new album. One would assume this sort of scenario to be the case once again for Dig Out Your Soul but, after so many years of working together, for the first time the tension has manifested in the record’s make-up and performance rather than just on-stage.

Taken as a whole, Dig Out Your Soul marks the first time listeners are able to easily point to particular songs and recognize them as unmistakably the work and style of one particular writer; while they might’ve been fighting, the band members (not just the brothers) were always on the same creative page but, this time, that just isn’t so.

That does not, however, mean that the stylistic disparity doesn’t yield excellent results. From the stomping intro of “Bag It Up,” Noel Gallagher locks squarely into a classic state of vintage pop-rock bliss that hasn’t been heard (in Oasis’ music, or anyone else’s for that matter) in a very long time. One can instantly feel the familiar rush of pleasure course to their brain as soon as the record starts and instantly remember how long it has been since they felt that bliss. That satisfied smile plastered all over the faces of everyone within earshot shows no sign of fading through the nourish afterglow of “The Turning” and, just then, Noel hits them again with the “Five To One,” one-two punch of “Waiting For The Rapture” that knocks a few more off their feet before all those left standing are swept away by the Heathen Chemistry throwback “The Shock Of The Lightning.”

In those four tracks, Oasis reaches the summit of their perceived mountain on Noel’s back and, with that point reached, the guitarist turns the other band members loose to examine the nooks, crannies and artifacts they find there.

Because the lion’s share of Dig Out Your Soul was written by Noel (six of eleven tracks), those that weren’t end up leaping out of the album’s runtime to flash across the aural spectrum of listeners before returning to the focussed flow that the guitarist has set up. “Running Outta Time,” for example, is probably the most static and unmusical track that Liam Gallagher has ever written. In it, the singer sits down to converse with an old interview tape of John Lennon amid textural and meandering instrumental passages before Noel pulls listeners back down the rabbit hole (“(Get Off Your) High Horse Lady,” “Falling Down”) and guest scribe Gem takes the band further from their natural orbit than they’ve ever been with the stoned, sitar-saturated and droning “To Be Where There’s Life.” With the heads of listeners still spinning, Liam comes back to work some magic and wipes smiles from faces with the stunted drums of “Ain’t Got Nothing.” All of these moments are just that however; they are moments that add color to Noel’s design which makes for a great listening experience, but all of them are interchangeable in this context – it is Noel’s show.

Whether they’re interchangeable or not however, they do serve a purpose. Because the overall sounds of the songs written by other people are so different from the guitarist’s classic pop styling here, they offer a wondrous sense of variety similar to what Oasis’ beloved Beatles had in their later output as the members of that band began to drift apart. Hopefully, Dig Out Your Soul does not signify the decline of Oasis as such turns did for The Beatles though and, rather, signifies a new, ongoing direction for Oasis to examine.

Artist:

Official Oasis website

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