Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul

2009-04-09 15:40
Dig Out Your Soul
Schmarmy and academic as it is, there’s a lot of interesting stuff to say about the parrallels between Liam Gallagher and his hero, John Lennon, who can be heard on an excerpt from a radion interview on their new track “I’m Outta Time”. But as much as they’ve influenced modern music, The Beatles have nothing to do with Zeitgeist 2.0 and don’t belong in a Wes Anderson / post-Apartheid / Prius world. Somehow, Oasis do.

And yet you could ask why we need a band that’s been hanging around the cultural map for so long that we can’t tell anymore whether they’re repeating themselves. What’s a Gallagher to do when Kings of Leon, Noah and the Whale and hundreds of rock ‘n roll XYZs command our attention with fresher in-steps to our “On the Move” playlists? Be their bastard selves, that’s what. Confidence, creamy bucketloads of it, is what Oasis sell so well.

“This is our fantastic album,” they will say, with an added expletive for effect. And it’ll be fantastic because they didn’t will it to be anything else. Of course, this thinking plays blindly into the giant Mancunian Myth, “Noel knows”, but that’s what’s fun about Oasis: letting them lord over our rock sensibilities, even when our inner Lester Bangs should know better. To be the supreme musical dynasty you have to be the supreme con, Les Paul in hand.

Dig Out Your Soul is a coherent, listen-all-the-way-through album. This is hardly what you’d expect when former songwriter-in-chief Noel Gallagher has scaled back his contribution to just six songs so that everyone but the drummer (who else?) could dig out their soul for a songwriting credit. Guitar mechanic Gem Archer is even caught red-handed in naming the album on the Sgt. Pepper's tribute, “Where There Is Life”.

The acoustic-centric, or “songy”, as Noel describes it, vibe of Don’t Believe The Truth is gone, replaced by wailing, driving rock with a dull psychedelic edge. The word “rollicking” comes frequently to mind, almost as often as “fantastic”. These rockers can be simple or downright noisy, but more often than not, they’re out of the Bittersweet Head Trip how-to book of song, as you might gather from “Bag It Up”: “Someone tell me I'm dreaming / The freaks are rising up through the floor / Everything I believe in / Is telling me that I want more, more, more”.

Yeah, some band in Canada is doing great things with electric mandolins right now, and the Gallaghers’ time in the tabloid spotlight is drawing to the close, as it eventually, inconceivably did for The Beatles. But unlike them, Oasis have something to do with now. If only by virtue of standing on the shoulders of giants and saying of the world “Nah, that’s not for me mate. Got pills, do ya?”, they’re moulding the shit out of what they 'know', and the art we get out of it will endure a long while yet.

It is possible, easy actually, to explain the entire career and appeal of Oasis in terms of their favourite band, The Beatles.

Ratel 2008/12/10 2:05 PM
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go liam, go liam, go go go liam!
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