Reviewed by Edward Wallace
Oasis/Dig Out Your Soul
This the Oasis album that should have come after (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? – the third great album fans have been waiting for. Closest in spirit to their debut Definitely Maybe, it’s tighter than their last two good albums Heathen Chemistry and Don’t Believe the Truth with a much better single. Hopefully it will find the appreciation Radiohead and Foo Fighters recently enjoyed. The first song “Bag It Up” has the Gallaghers taking on fear: “Somebody tell me I’m dreaming/The freaks are coming up through the floor”/I’ve got my heebeejeebees hidden in a bag” with soaring, classic guitar and throaty vocal bravado. “The Turning” has a Kid A Radiohead beat, but sped up into an exciting rocker – the kind Radiohead may have made in a parallel universe where they took Bono’s advice to make a pop hit. Setting a theme that continues into the next song, Oasis uses imagery of Adam & Eve and the Christian Rapture. Where they began their careers declaring they wanted to “Live Forever”; here they face mortality (“I’m tired, come pick me off this merry-go-round”) but see love and living life to the fullest as the obvious answer. “Grab your guitar when the rapture takes me…will you be by my side?”
“The Shock of The Lightning” opens with an air raid, complete with plane noises and strafing machine gun drums. Vintage “Supersonic” guitar hooks explode. The chorus “Love is a time machine/Up on the silver screen” doesn’t worry about making sense because it’s too busy kickin’ arse. Returning to the mortality theme, “I’m Outta Time” is a touching Liam piano ballad on the final days of John Lennon. “If I’m to fall would you be there to applaud/Or would you hide behind them all.” It ends with powerful dialog from Lennon himself. Oasis is the one band that could pull this song off, and does.
“Get Off Your High Horse Lady” is a bluesy, hand-clapper kiss-off that fits with their last single “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down.” “Falling Down” is a shoegazer song with swirly guitars, strings and psychedelic lyrics about dreams and butterflies before turning defiant: “I try to talk to God to no avail/I said ‘If you can’t save me, then please don’t waste my time.’ “
The Chemical Brothers remix of that song (available separately) is bombastic. Had the two bands collaborated on a full album during the ’90s (The Chemical Gallagher Brothers?) matching Oasis’s rock-craft charisma with cutting-edge techno production, I think they could have created the best CD of that decade. It’s not too late. “To Be Where There’s Life” continues the psychedelia with a George Harrison-influenced sitar piece. “Ain’t Got Nothin’” (the most swaggering song Liam has written) kicks the door back in like ‘Force Of Nature’ demanding “The Truth,” with a more jangly, blues rock take from The Who.
“Nature of Reality” returns to hippyland with shaky maracas, building into a glam rockier, reverberating update of “Helter Skelter”-era Beatles. “The nature of reality/Is pure subjective fantasy” seems to answer the question posed by the previous track. I’m amazed how well the brothers’ songs intertwine. The haunting ending “Soldier On” ends with a plodding, martial beat. A bold choice that leaves the brothers’ song personas toiling onwards – not at the promised land, but refusing to give up as though at the end of a cliff hanger movie sequel. Which of course leaves us looking forward again to the next exciting Oasis chapter.