Could it be? Noel and Liam Gallagher have reached a “gentleman’s agreement” to reform Oasis next year, according to a newspaper report this weekend. Noel, who has consistently said it’s not going to happen unless someone gives him half a billion pounds/condoms/teabags, recently released the UK’s fastest-selling album of the year. He also has his biggest ever solo shows to look forward to this summer. Why drop all that for a potentially bumpy, though lucrative, ride down memory lane, you might ask. He’s spent two albums, and five years, now attempting to step out of the shadow of his previous band. To step back into that shade, as his solo career continues to gather momentum, with a third solo album reportedly written and ready to record, seems unlikely, yes. Unlikely, but not out of the question.
This much we know: the Gallaghers’ relationship is less frosty than it was a few years ago. Only a few weeks ago, Liam tweeted from his brother’s High Flying Birds show, while Noel seems less irked by questions about Liam in interviews of late. Discussing Beady Eye’s recent split, instead of taking the opportunity to gloat or underline how difficult his sibling is to be in a band with, as he has in the past, Noel has sounded sympathetic. It’s been a reminder that they are family, after all.
So if the rumours are true and a reunion is imminent, how would it play out? Pulp, Blur and the Stone Roses have each resurrected themselves to grand acclaim. For Pulp, reunion shows were something of a victory lap: one last time around the block, digging out the hits to celebrate their underrated legacy. Blur, on the other hand, have proved determined to push things forward, exploring new territories, both musically and geographically, on Hong Kong-inspired new album ‘The Magic Whip’. Which path would an Oasis reunion follow?
All-out nostalgia seems the more likely. And why not? You only have to look at Pulp and The Stone Roses’ reformations to see that giving fans what they want is often the best policy. Neither band (to this point) got weighed down in trying to write new material. They simply gave fans what they wanted – greatest hits sets. Festival crowds around the world absolutely loved it. Oasis could do exactly the same. Oasis featuring Noel, Liam, Bonehead, Guigsy and a drummer of their choosing playing the band’s very biggest songs in front of giant congregations would be enough for many fans.
That said, the thought of new Oasis material is tantalising and might be a way of the group exorcising ghosts of old. Paul Weller has warned Noel Gallagher about reforming Oasis, with Noel hinting he might have to move abroad if it happened because Weller would “put my windows in”. One way of reforming while still winning Weller’s approval would be to abandon what had gone before and move on with completely fresh material. Weller famously broke up The Jam at their height and moved on, and did it again with The Style Council and solo career, waiting until 2002’s ‘Days Of Speed’ tour to even perform songs from his back catalogue. It’d be a huge step for Oasis – even Noel’s solo shows include seven or eight Oasis tunes – but it would be interesting to see them reform without relying on old songs and ignoring their history.
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If they did choose to work on new material, it might help to bring in a mediator – a producer able to both update their sound for modern times and calm any arguments that flare in the studio. Since Oasis, Liam has worked with brass-loving experimental producer Dave Sitek and Noel has recorded with psych specialists Amorphous Androgynous. Both Gallaghers have showed signs of wanting to move forward and dip their toes in new waters (alright, the Amorphous album has been scrapped, but still). In 2016, Oasis could choose an adventurous producer to work with, a bit of a curveball, to shape their comeback. Someone like James Ford or Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton might be an interesting choice. Or even – whisper it – Damon Albarn. He and Noel buried the hatchet and become friends since performing together in 2013 alongside Paul Weller. Noel even recently remarked how euphoric he found Albarn’s Royal Albert Hall show. As well as having become a seasoned producer in the years since Oasis were last active, having just finished Blur’s album ‘The Magic Whip’, Damon might also be able to give a few tips on bringing back a band massive in ’90s and make them relevant in 2015.
Oasis’ heyday was a rosy time for the British economy. Returning in 2015, maybe new songs would see Noel make good on his recent moans that there are no working class musicians at the moment fighting against the bleakness of it all. Or maybe the band would try to recreate the fizzing formula that made them Britpop legends in the first place. What direction would you like the band go, should they reunite? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, and vote in our poll.