No longer the Angry Young Men of Brit-pop, Oasis has coasted into middle age with band head Noel Gallagher perched upon the "grumpy old man" mantle, at least in UK press. This year alone, he's insulted Jay-Z, Radiohead, the Kaiser Chiefs ... and '08 ain't yet over. Musically, Gallagher's band has coasted on the reputation of their landmarks, Definitely Maybe and What's The Story, Morning Glory. It wouldn't be a stretch to say Oasis has not made a complete good album in a decade. What's funny is how Noel hypes each new release, only to disown it once the next one arrives. It's the same MO with Dig Out Your Soul.
To be fair, upon first listen, Dig sounds more like their earlier classic music than their recent albums have — albeit with a bit of a twist, probably due to Noel's increasingly democratic sharing of the songwriting pie. In addition to three songs from his lovable singer bro Liam, there's a tune apiece from bassist Andy Bell and guitarist Gem Archer. Noel still dominates — with six of the album's 11 songs, which surprisingly, stand up next to his best work, particularly opener "Bag It Up," and single "The Shock of the Lightning."
The Beatles specter still hangs heavy in the Oasis legacy, such as it is, but there are now healthy dollops of Stones nods, along with a Doors cop at the head of "Waiting for the Rapture" that's so ridiculously obvious, you can almost hear Ray Manzarek's lawyers burping up copyright-violation-speak.
In all, though, the '08-'09 Oasis is in far ruder health than even their most ardent fans might've expected. Besides, they're always a total blast live, and an Oasis concert is as good a way as any to start off a great holiday season.
Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Palace, 5 Championship Dr., Auburn Hills; 248-377-0100. With Ryan Adams & the Cardinals.
Mike Villano writes about music for Metro Times. Send commentst to [email protected].