Have the Bollocks Brothers dropped the ball? Have they lost the plot in a fog of paparazzi flashbulbs, drug benders, tepid reception and newfound "maturity"? All this brouhaha and distraction from the task at hand is enough to make anyone forget how to take a sad Beatles song and make it bettah. But not Noel and Liam Gallagher, dammit! Well, to be quite honest, they still havent made a single Beatles song bettah though they did do wonders for the "Id Like to Teach the World to Sing" Coca-Cola jingle a couple records ago. But thats another time and place, a world away from this years Oasis.
Back to the task at hand: a review of the new Oasis record, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants a tweaked little title that implies the kind of ego-humility the bros. Gallagher and their newfound compatriots, rhythm guitarist Gem and bassist Andy Bell (late of Ride), express on the grooves herein. (Late in 1999, bassist Bonehead Arthurs and guitarist Guigsy McGuigan split from the band to retire to country quietude and a life of cashing royalty checks from "I-put-up-with-the-Gallaghers-and-lived-to-cash-in-on-it" paperbacks. But thats another story.)
Oasis, a band most postmodern, acquits itself of the hangover left by its last flaccid outing, Be Here Now, by letting in all of the Primal Scream, Chemical Brothers, Sex Pistols, Stone Roses, Doors, Stones, Bowie, T. Rex hooligans who have always lurked around the edges of the bands music. And the bros. let the groove, sampladelia, thudding rhythm and hubris carry the day (along with an elevated musicianship that can only be blamed on the addition of Bell and Gem and maturity and, oh dear, sobriety). Where once in the rock n roll kingdom there was a glorious bluster of a punk-as-fuck, working class-and-pissed-about-it, one-dimensional bar band stalking arena stages and wreaking havoc on the populace, there now roams a sonically cultured new beast that looks and smells like the Oasis of old, but howls a different tune and is infinitely more likely to sit with you in the pub and commiserate. In short, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants will ingratiate itself to you if you let it, like a friend youd given up on coming back to remind you what a good time you once had together.
Admit it, you want to like this record sooo badly. You really do. You need a record to sing along with when youre on that fifth pint and the girls gone and the boys are calling you out to get into a little trouble and the morning may never come anyway. But thats another story.
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