Pushing Noel off a stage in Toronto might bruise the erstwhile Oasis mouthpiece’s ribs (maybe even his spirits) and cause the band to cancel a show or two, but nothing can stop the slow procession toward a new Oasis album. These things will arrive here/there for the rest of our lives, right? The big question: Do the songs sound at all like the NYC busker versions? The other question: Is it better than the Verve’s Forth? No and yes: The songs sound better coming out of Oasis than the buskers and, yes, it’s better than Forth (just in case you wanted to keep your psychedelic Brit rock pecking order in good shape). But does that make it any good?
We all knew Oasis loved the Beatles, so certain elements won’t be a surprise: The second track “The Turning”‘s outro makes use of “Dear Prudence”‘s introduction and the ballad-y, supposed second single, the “I’m Outta Time,” includes a vocal (spoken) sample of John Lennon (Noel’s said this this track’s for the ladies). Otherwise, the Beatles moments are there in the form of echoes. “Magical mystery” in the propulsive “Shock Of The Lightning” (a good Oasis song), etc.
The opener “Bag It Up” is a good one, overcoming lines like “I got my heebee jeebees in a
little hidden bag” ( did we hear that right? no!) to offer a mid-tempo Oasis rock ‘n’ roller. Not amazing, but a solid opener, especially when the strings and well-sculpted feedback tones come in toward the end: It feels like they’re holding back a bit and waiting to show you something bigger (in this case, the aforementioned “The Turning,” an album standout). “Waiting For The Rapture” — “she put an apple in my eye” — is a duskier bit that has something U2 and neo-Kings Of Leon to it (except, in terms of the latter, it actually goes somewhere beyond the blowdryer).
As mentioned, “Falling Down,” which first debuted in Chem Bros Remix form over the summer, is different sounding (in a good, interesting way) with chillier tones and strings and windy, catchy chorus. It’s an anthem, but an icy one. Oasis certainly love their big rock songs, but Dig offers some quieter, weirder moments like the smeary, snapping/hand clapping psychedelia of “(Get Off Your) High Horse Lady” with its repetitious percussion and guitar and boxed vocals, builds into a pleasing factory-like/railroad working groove. Nice.
Then it moves into an area where textures and sitars gain precedence over songwriting: “To Be Where There’s Life” (the sitar-y psychedelic one) offers a interesting textures, but the the composition itself is pretty ho-hum (unless you did the right amount of drugs first). The same could be said for “Ain’t Got Nothing” (the swirly rocker) and “The Nature of Reality” (the bluesy rocker with shakers and cacophonous, up-swinging chorus). Each sounds good, but keeps going without enough of a pay-off.
Dig closes out with the vocal palimpsest ballad “Soldier On” (overlapping, slightly out of phase vocals), which is pretty enough, but fades on a small wave of feedback and repetitions instead of coming to a hard stop — kind of like this record.Dig Out Your Soul isn’t amazing, and Noel’s nowhere the genius he thinks he is (not even half…), but the collection has enough worthwhile moments, that fans shouldn’t leave disappointed. After all, you are still a fan at this point.
Dig Out Your Soul is out 10/6 via Big Brother.