Standing on the Shoulder of Giants
our score: 3.5 out of 5.0
Replacements, Oasis Shines Again
enough, the brothers Gallagher have managed to quell their fighting
ways long enough to release their fourth album. With their constant
pissing contests, who would have guessed, though, that they'd
be the only two remaining members of the original band. After
splitting with bassist Paul McGuigan and rhythm guitarist Paul
"Bonehead" Arthurs (amicably, of course) in the past six months,
Noel and Liam have forged on with new members and a slightly new
sound on Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.
hard to believe a group so brash and so quick to thumb their collective
nose at mainstream media would allow themselves to be influenced
by the opinions of critics, it seems they took the shots at their
self indulgent third release Be Here Now to heart and tightened
things up a bit.
songs eclipse the five-minute mark, and gone completely are the
extended jams that cluttered the previous release. The shorter,
more compact arrangements give the swaggering Brits more power
as they grind and snarl their way through chest-thumping songs
like "Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is" and "I Can See a Liar."
however, the cocky sneer of lead singer Liam Gallagher seems out
of place at best. For the first time, consummate control freak
Noel Gallagher turned the songwriting duties over to his younger
brother for "Little James," an ode to Liam's five-month-old son
Lennon and wife Patsy Kensit, and Liam seems unable to put aside
the teeth-clenching grit usually reserved for the rabble-rousing
grind of songs like "Supersonic." When he croaks "I'm singing
this song for you and your mum that's all" he sounds more disciplinarian
than doting father.
Gallagher still has a penchant for tapping the wandering-soul,
melancholy spring that he's fallen back on so many times before,
but with "Where Did it All Go Wrong?" even the title alone warns
of a melodramatic waltz steeped in social examination.
like "And until you've repaid/the dreams you bought for your lies/you'll
be cast away/alone under the stormy skies" he becomes the self-righteous
I-told-you-so type we all love to hate.
foreboding "Gas Panic!" captures the evolutionary changes of the
band's style that took them from barroom brawlers to accomplished
musicians. Although Noel's infamous claim that the band has become
bigger than God may have been a little premature, the tone of
the song creates a mood of the last days of existence that suggests
they've tapped a darker, sinister power. Based
around a somber acoustic strumming and lilting bass line, the
song starts with a journey through sin and repent before erupting
into a blast of guitar distortion and whine that provides the
backdrop for Liam's admonishment of the sinner.
slightly new sound has crept into the traditional stomp and crunch
of their previous efforts (possibly a result of the addition of
guitarist Gem and bassist Andy Bell), the band proves that it
hasn't strayed too far from the sound that made them the biggest
rock band in the UK with the first single "Go Let it Out." An
unexpected hip-hop beat (do I notice a subtle turntable scratch
effect too?) gives way to the trademark guitar licks of previous
Oasis fare, and a refrain made for constant MTV and radio play
assures the boys of at least one hit.
as a band and often maligned by American critics, Oasis proved
their doubters wrong by sticking together, in one form or another,
long enough to put together one more album of catchy British pop.
Though their work becomes bogged down at times by the melodramatic
lyrical output of the older Gallagher, it's head-bobbing thump
and sneer-producing swagger is enough to make even their staunchest
critics accept their ability to create a down-and-dirty rock and
liked Standing on the Shoulder of Giants...