Oasis Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (Epic)

SXSW Records

Record Reviews

Oasis

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (Epic)

At one time, the boys of Oasis provided all the histrionics one could ask from rock & roll theatre, putting out two fantastic albums that captured their mad-for-it unruliness. The Gallagher brothers' initial arrogance came from a lot of things -- working-class bluster, Liam's love of his own pretty face, and drugs, drugs, drugs -- but their musical sense of superiority stemmed from an unwavering belief in their primary "source," the Beatles. Now, Noel's stepped away from the carnival he created and has written songs rejecting the rock & roll lifestyle he once glorified. Unfortunately, he seems to lack either the depth or the talent to handle the post-party analysis. Liam, bless 'im, sounds better than ever, but sadly, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants reinforces the fact that Oasis is musically and emotionally a one-trick pony. If you like their boisterous pop trick, you'll be satisfied (if only marginally) by this sometimes groovier, more modern, incarnation, but the album suffers from too many listless ballads and too many wan vocals from Noel. Furthermore, the lyrics, which have never been the point of Oasis, have lost their sense of fun. Whereas the boys once encapsulated their haughtiness with rhymes like, "I'm feeling supersonic, give me gin and tonic," and "Your music's shite, it keeps me up all night," they're now "the keepers of their destiny," the "they" referring to the upper class to which they now belong. Huh? Their convoluted self-belief just isn't funny anymore, unless you want to laugh at them, as many have on the most maligned track, "Little James," Liam's first songwriting effort. In truth, the song captures the spirit of what Oasis do (did) best: silly, simplistic sing-alongs with hand-claps, na-na-na's, and the like. In the final analysis, this album is far better than the last, but far worse than the first. And nothing's as good as the early B-sides. Boys, where have all the good times gone?

**

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