Wednesday, May 25, 2005

CD Review: Oasis - Don't Believe The Truth


The truth is that the new Oasis album is more of the same stuff they’ve been peddling ever since Be Here Now – medium tempo rock that’s moderately catchy, lyrically lame, and a diminishment of the reputation built from their first two albums. Don’t Believe The Truth is being heralded as a return to form by their record company, but that’s what they’ve been saying for each new Oasis release. It’s as if they can’t accept that Britpop is dead, so they haul out the corpse periodically for rock critics to either chant curses or poetry over while the general population yawns and buys the latest hip hop album. I was hoping Oasis could be Sally Field for a day with this new one – I really wanted to like them, I really did.

Part of the hype surrounding Don’t Believe The Truth is how Oasis is now a true band with all the members contributing songs to the cause (with the exception of poor little Zak Starkey who barely rates a mention on the drum). As with Heathen Chemistry this is not necessarily a good thing. The opening track, “Turn Up The Sun”, was composed by Andy Bell and it is as boring as anything in his old band Ride’s catalog. I guess it could be called shoe-geezer rock. One of the frustrating things about Oasis is how they almost come up with a good song every so often – take “Mucky Fingers” for example: we have a Velvet Underground meets Mott The Hoople style tune that could have really stirred things up, but instead it just paces the floor for a few minutes before disappearing leaving you with that I’ve heard that song before sinister similarity. At least it rings true lyrically – as long as Oasis are on about me, me, me you’re on solid ground since narcissism is their greatest strength.

When they start delving into love, rest assured you’ll get lots of cheap bromides or even worse like “you turn me on, your love’s like a bomb, blowing my mind” from “Love Like A Bomb’ which turns a likeable enough tune cringeworthy. What little they’ve learned of love came from the Beatles and you’d think mining that rich shaft would yield something better than “Let There Be Love”; yet another five plus minute clunker in the Oasis songbook that trys so hard to be an anthem you begin to wonder if the Gallagher’s are hoping somebody will knit them a flag or something. I don’t know who “kicked a hole in the sky so the heavens could cry over” them, but I sure wish they would stop. I’m starting to wonder if Bonehead wasn’t the brains behind the whole operation.

The album’s first single, “Lyla”, has been touted by Noel as being, “… the soundtrack of our lives doing The Who on Skol in a psychedelic city in the sky (or something...”, but I don’t hear it, though an argument could likely be made comparing the track to It’s Hard era Who. In its defense, it has hit no. 1 in the UK. When your main influences seems to be The Beatles and Slade you know there has to be some good stuff on the record too. I thought “The Importance Of Being Idle” was nice in a Kinks “Sunny Afternoon” vein although I doubt Noel would be satisfied merely with “..,a bed beneath the stars that shine” but the line about him being lazy was funny. “The Meaning Of Soul” is a brief, frenetic surprise from a band known more for overindulgence. Andy Bell’s “Keep The Dream Alive” is too long, but it is pretty.

So Don’t Believe The Truth continues the Oasis story along in a non-spectacular way, but what was I really expecting. At the height of Britpop one could be forgiven for thinking Oasis might end up as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. Who could have known that they’d just end up being the next Wishbone Ash churning out lackluster album after album? Their own shadow looms large and perhaps it's unfair to think they’re capable of capturing the essence of their former spark and I should just accept what they’re giving – mildly engaging derivative rock and roll. In a world where rock and roll music is quickly becoming just another marginalized genre another disappointing record from Oasis is still better than nothing if you're bored enough.


bmarkey said...

You promised us pictures of you smashing the disc with a hammer. I, for one, do not intend to let you get out of it. Start smashing, dude.

Wally Bangs said...

That'll happen sometime next week. It'll make a good Memorial Day weekend event.

Anonymous said...

instead of criticising oasis, get of your fat lazing fucking arse and make some good music yourself, you dimwit.

Wally Bangs said...

Ah c'mon, why compose my own songs, when I can play along with Oasis with the greatest of ease. And I had to criticize Oasis or Epic Records would have sent their goons after me.

elliott said...

Man, I always want to like Oasis records and I listen to them in heavy rotation when I first buy 'em (trying desperately to love 'em). But they always end up gathering dust after a week or two. I do think, however, they are evolving into a 'band' rather than front men with backing musicians - and that's a good thing. They just haven't evolved into a 'great band'.

Anonymous said...

Turn up the Sun - 5/10- typical Oasis fare

Mucky Fingers - 2/10 - utter shite, seriously WTF. This isn't even B side material. Complete discard.

Lyla- 4/10 - Crap, long established and much critiqued.

Love like a bomb - 3/10 terrible, lyrically and musically

The importance of being idle - 5/10 - better because Noel sings but still weak

The meaning of soul - 3/10 If I wasn't so curious to see how bad this album could be I'd stop here.

Guess God thinks Im able - REM ripoff circa Automatic for the people 5/10 - nothing special / lyrically comical

Part of the Queue- 7/10- actually a fun song. Decent and different from what I've heard of them.

Keep the Dream Alive- 6/10 - a simple song but ok

A bell will ring- 6/10 pretty good, standard but better.

Let there be love- 5/10 unmemorable.

Album- 3/10. Simply inexcusable. If this is the best they produce after that layoff they are done. Listen carefully and you'll hear so many riffs and hooks stolen from REM songs in the later 90's its incredible. Most chord progressions are juvenile. For me the best song is Part of the Queue. I don't think I'd download another track- maybe Keep the Dream Alive and A Bell Will Ring. Second part of the album is far better. Im chuffed I got tickets to see these guys but it might be worth while to see their reactions to fans as they sit during these songs and only cheer when the return to their old catalog. I'd say its a letdown but I long suspected their demise. How sad.

Worst album they've done without question. You'll remember not a single melody or hook 2 weeks from now. For all their smack-talking about other bands, this is truly their swansong. If I'm Keane or Bloc Party, I'm hardly quaking in my boots. At least Somewhere only we know or Banquet you'll remember and sing along. You won't remeember a single of these songs in 3 months.


Wally Bangs said...

And people thought I was harsh on the new Oasis album. Even Pitchfork gave it a 4.7.

Anonymous said...

As the album title states "don't believe the truth" because the truth hurts.

In light of how bad this album is I think this is the best Oasis album title ever.

Album 3/10
Album title 10/10

Anonymous said...

I agree with the review that called it terrible. Its dreadful. What a tragedy they've become. Its been a steady fall since Guigsy and Bonehead left.

Anonymous said...

All I Wanna Say Is " GET IT UP YOU" you reviews mean nout, and with 2 number 1 singles and a number 2, n a number 1 album, theres obv more people still liking them! if u dont like them, dont buy it! Simple!