Dig Out Your Soul

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October 07, 2008|By RASHOD D. OLLISON

Oasis [Epic] ***

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After more than a decade of worldwide fame and multiplatinum album sales, Oasis seems to still be in love with rock's celebrated past.

The British pop-rock group has gotten better at refurbishing familiar melodic hooks and rhythmic riffs. Perhaps that has become the group's signature.

The long shadow of the Beatles still hovers over Oasis' latest album, Dig Out Your Soul. John Lennon's voice literally haunts "I'm Outta Time," one of the set's densest cuts. But Oasis still manages to show some musical maturity - even if the new album is at times very derivative of the Fab Four post-Revolver.

The CD, in stores today, follows up 2005's streamlined Don't Believe the Truth. For the new CD, the band takes the music in a thicker, murkier direction. Blistering guitars flare over dense, churning layers of keyboards and buzzing synths. The grooves are as propulsive and cocksure as they ever were. "Waiting for Rapture" and "The Shock of the Lightning" are gleaming examples. Though the music's sneer and swagger are borrowed from vintage Rolling Stones, Oasis' approximation is still resonant.

Noel Gallagher, the group's chief songwriter, front loads Dig Out Your Soul with some of his best songs since 1995's (What's the Story) Morning Glory. The stomping blues-rock burner "Bag It Up," which opens the album, is a standout. But when Gallagher turns over songwriting duties to other members of the band, the songs sag. Liam Gallagher, Noel's brother, pens three ho-hum cuts, including the overwrought closing number "Soldier On."

But the well-worn feel of the arrangements makes the songs listenable. With its full mix of crisp and fuzzy instrumentation, Dig Out Your Soul is a better-sounding record than it actually is. If anything, the album further bolsters what has been true about Oasis for years: The guys are perhaps the most sincere imitators in modern rock.

Download these:: "Bag It Up," "Waiting for the Rapture" and "The Shock of the Lightning"

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