It slips into life slowly, deceptively, growling into a bold swagger forAndy Bell’s Turn Up The Sun. But DBTT is not the Oasis we’ve come to know.Far from it.
There’s a lo-fi, stripped feel to the record which strikes you as youlisten to it. Yet at the same time two years and much production has goneinto DBTT, which breathes harmonica solos, keyboards and extended percussion(Zak Starkey continues to drum while percussionist extraordinaire LennyCastro guests) allowing Oasis to flex across folk, pop and psychedelia,which partly confirms the band’s heavy name checking of The Kinks andHighway 61.
More so than ever, they wear their music influences on their sleeves.Mucky Fingers borrows the chug-a-chug of The Velvet Underground‘s I’m Waiting ForThe Man, but lyrically (“All the fonies that roam at night / When I’ve goneyeah you look like you missed me / So come along with me, don’t ask why”) andvocally, Noel has never sounded more reinvigorated in a decade.
The cynics suggest the once great songwriter is struggling. Momentarilyit can appear that Noel is at odds. He only contributes five this time, butthe gems remain all his. Part Of The Queue lends more than a few nods toThe Stranglers’ Golden Brown, but Noel’s redemptive words (“Stand tall/ Stand proud / Every beginning is breaking its promise / I’m having troublejust finding some soul in this town”) and performance are again on fineform. His closer, Let There Be Love, crafts a brilliant Gallagher duet, aspiritual hybrid of Live Forever and Let It Be, utterly filled with the kindsoul they exported so abundantly in the 94/95 season.
The other six are no fillers either. Gem Archer has a catchy potentialsingle in A Bell Will Ring. Keep The Dream Alive (Andy Bell) rotates looseurgency and desert psychedelia which waters into one of the mostOasis-sounding of the lot.
Liam’s three continue his surprising progression. Love Like A Bombbetrays more of the Songbird karma no one thought he could be capable ofshowing. Guess God Think I’m Abel, a tender tribute to Noel along the samelines as Acquiesce, bridges the record wonderfully. The thrashy Meaning OfSoul, barely two minutes long, seems to have been written shortly after Liamgot his teeth smashed in Germany, but it gets better each time you hearit.
Which is very much reflective of the album. You won’t be blown away inthe unique way Oasis’ first albums did. Yet with every listen DBTT pulls youin.
It’s worth remembering that it took The Beatles and TheStones six albums (Rubber Soul, Aftermath) to mature before theyeventually came up with their big hitters (Revolver, Sgt Pepper, BeggarsBanquet and Sticky fingers were yet to follow). A mature Oasis at the samestage claim two classic records, are off the drugs and have regained astride which maybe, just maybe, will lead to something great once again.
While that time is not now, Oasis are back, still relevant and, in Liam’swords, “still waiting for someone to take the torch.”