In 1994, Oasis burst out of Manchester and took British pop music by storm with its hit debut album “Definitely, Maybe” and its sophomore smash “What’s the Story? (Morning Glory).” Thirteen years and seven albums later, brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher are back with a vengeance on their latest album, “Dig Out Your Soul.”
After a series of critical failures, Oasis made a comeback with its sixth album “Don’t Believe the Truth” and follows it up with yet another strong showing that displays the Gallagher brothers as the mature elder statesman of rock ‘n’ roll that they are.
“Dig Out Your Soul” opens with the bluesy track “Bag It Up,” which Noel Gallagher admits is “unlike any song I’ve ever written before,” as he describes on the “making of” DVD of the special edition album, entitled “Gold & Silver & Sunshine.” The song has a hard-hitting, stripped-down guitar riff with an explosive end that acts as the pyrotechnic introduction to the album.
The album’s first single “The Shock of the Lighting,” hits like no other Oasis song has before. The song blends a no-joke guitar speed with Noel’s trademark I-have-something-to-say-but-I’m-not-sure-what lyrics to deliver the only song on the album that sounds like it could have been made in Oasis’ younger days.
Perhaps the most promising tracks on the album are the psychedelic “I’m Outta Time” and “Falling Down.” The former song shows Liam’s song-writing evolving into a unique style that steps up to the work of his older brother’s, while “Falling Down” is a turning point in the evolution of Noel. Guitarist Gem Archer described it in the “making of” DVD as “the soundtrack to the greatest movie that hasn’t been made yet.” The background music and Noel’s dreamy singing are reminiscent of early Oasis influence The Stone Roses.
On the whole, the album shows Oasis expanding its chops. In the “making of” DVD, Noel says, “I never step out of my comfort zone. Why would I make things harder for myself?” After listening to “Dig Out Your Soul,” that statement may sound like a lie.
However, if one were to question Noel on the truth of that statement, he may just tell that person to listen to the album again. Although almost every song on the album sounds like nothing Oasis has done before, the band executes it all so well that it seems quite comfortable.
Oasis came into the rock world with a harsh narcissism that made it annoying to some but endearing to the masses (think Kanye West). This disregard for everyone else helped Oasis produce songs that broke boundaries such as “Live Forever,” “Wonderwall” and “Acquiesce.” Yet, it also pushed the band into a cycle of drug abuse that resulted in the coked out “Be Here Now.”
Luckily, Oasis has found itself where it knew it belonged in the first place—rock ‘n’ roll royalty. Now that Oasis no longer has to prove itself, the band can now sit back and show the world the tricks it has learned along the way.