nme.com asks the movers and the shakers what they think the new album 'Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants', part one...
We know the name of the GALLAGHERS’ new label. We know who their new bandmates are and where NOEL shops for baby clothes. And now that we even know the gruesome details of LIAM and Patsy’s love life maybe it’s about time we considered what really matters: The music, man.
In theory, OASIS’ forthcoming ‘STANDING ON THE SHOULDER OF GIANTS’ album is the record we’ve all been waiting for, the one to save guitar music. And at the very least, it’s the one everyone will have something to say about.
So we played various movers and shakers (and JAMIE THEAKSTON) a sneaky preview of the album and asked them what they thought. The results are illuminating, at least. Let the battle commence…
ALEX LOWE (Singer with HURRICANE #1 – the band he formed with new OASIS bassist ANDY BELL)
“I’m a bit disappointed. It’s a good album in terms of it being very mature and grown-up but I like albums because they’re catchy and they have singles on and there’s not much of that here. The kids won’t like it much but musos who collect guitar picks and stuff will love it because Noel has obviously really thought about how he wants this to sound.
“Actually, the thing that I’m most disappointed in is that they haven’t stretched Liam’svoice enough. The songs he sings are really ploddy and a bit boring. They drag on too long. Sorry Liam! The rest of it is okay. And I’m pleased for Andy but I think it’s weird he’s not going to be playing guitar. He’s a fantastic guitarist – one of the best. I didn’t even know he could play bass actually!”
CHANDRASONIC (from ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION)
“I’ve never really liked Oasis much anyway. I’ve never actively disliked them either but they’ve never grabbed me. They’ve been writing progressively less catchy rewrites of ‘Dear Prudence’. If you listen to that, you hear every Oasis tune apart from the heavy metal bar room things that they do sometimes. This album’s no exception really. ‘Go Let It Out’ is ‘Dear Prudence’ with a bit of ‘I Am The Walrus’ thrown in. ‘Roll It Over’ is the slow version of ‘Dear Prudence’ with a bit of ‘Something In The Air’ thrown into it. And so it goes on. The only thing they’ve got going forthem is Liam Gallagher’s voice and they waste that. The whole package is tired, whether you like the music or not. A lot of Oasis’ success is about what’s superficial in pop music – bad behaviour, drug habits, arguments. I kind of hope that people are less impressed now by that ladddishness and, if that becomes less interesting to people, they ain’t got much else.”
ANDRE BARRAU (‘George Harrison‘ from THE BOOTLEG BEATLES)
“I really enjoyed it. There’s a couple of real classics on it as well like ‘Gas Panic’ and ‘Sunday Morning Call’. I also like ‘Where Did It All Go Wrong’. But most of all I really liked the sound on the album with loads of lead guitar. The singing’s great from both of them and there is some Beatles-y moments, but that’s fine for me! A lot of people had told me I wasn’t going to enjoy ‘Little James’ but I really did. Liam sang it to me in a pub toilet last year actually. And he sang me another really good song that I was really looking forward to called ‘Cigarettes In Hell’ but it’s not on the album so I’ll have to remember my private rendition! Whereas last time people really praised the last album and then went off it, I think they’ll probably knock this one and then realise they missed a classic. It’s a real grower.
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CHARLES KENNEDY MP (Leader of Liberal Democrat party)
“I really enjoyed it. Compared to the stuff they’d done two or three years ago, it’s slightly more mellow – slightly more melodic actually, with more production and less rawness and so it’s slightly more mature as well. Subjects like fatherhood in ‘Little James’ mark a certain passing of time which doesn’t just show through in that track but, generally, there’s a more worldly wiseness about the whole record. Thinking of it politically, you also get the impression of growing up and maturity, as well as a slight degree of cynicism that things have not changed for the better as much as they might have hoped a couple of years ago. I saw the two of them collecting their awards at The Brits the year they swept the boards and they were shouting that Tony Blair was the only person who cared about the young and unemployed.
I’m not sure they’d say that today and some of the titles are quite ironic in that respect. ‘Put Yer Money Where Your Mouth Is’ could sum up this week’s headlines over the NHS, ‘Where Did It All Go Wrong?’ and ‘I Can See A Liar’! I’m not saying they were all written in a political frame of mind but that was quite amusing! I did enjoy it, though. It was a pleasure to listen to it and it made a happy change from the sort of things I’m usually asked to do!”
KEN LIVINGSTONE Labour MP and London Mayor candidate
“I don’t want to open old wounds, but I was definitely on Blur’s side during the great Britpop wars. Blur asked me to appear on ‘The Great Escape’ and since then I’ve stayed friendly with Damon. He stuck his neck out over the abolition of the student grant, even making a speech at a lobby of parliament. But Noel Gallagher’s support for the Liverpool Dockers should not be ignored and his opposition to fox hunting is a real boost to the campaign to get hunting with dogs banned. Musically though, Blur are still pushing in new directions, whereas I thought the Oasis album seemed a bit safe. One friend I played it to said it sounded too Aerosmith and not enough Slade. ‘Where Did It All Go Wrong?’ and ‘Sunday Morning Call’ seem more personal, but much as he obviously wants to sing his own songs, I really think Noel should let Liam do the singing. It may veer unashamedly into schmaltz, but Liam’s song ‘Little James’ is bound to be a huge hit. A relative of John Lennon’s ‘Beautiful Boy’, it’s very touching, especially when he directs the song at James and Patsy Kensit. You can see the audience waving the cigarette lighters now. It doesn’t need the ‘na na na’ bit at the end though and I’m sure a lot of Oasis fans will hate it. The final track, ‘Roll it Over’, is a swirling atmospheric song with a heavy debt to the Beatles which is an impressive end to the album. Personally I was always more of a Stones fan – ‘Street Fighting Man’ said more to my generation than ‘Revolution’.
PETER AINSWORTH MP (Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport)
“Forty-somethings nostalgic about their adolescence will love this album. Its idiom is firmly planted in the late 60’s and early 70’s and it conjures a world of joss sticks, cheese-cloth, patchouli and a kind of unspecific resentment which some of us were happy to leave behind. The Beatles (of course), Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who: they’re all here, in the heavy guitar work, the thudding predictability of each beat in songs like ‘Go Let It Out’ and ‘Gas Panic!’ and in the smokey melodies of ‘Sunday Morning Call’ and ‘Where Did It All Go Wrong?’ Although it contains some very good material, this is not a great album. Oasis have certainly moved on from ‘What’s the Story (Morning Glory)?‘ but into uncertain territory where, overall, there is a danger of sounding like a compendium of other bands from thirty years ago. Perhaps the best measure of the album’s success will be to watch how quickly Tony Blair moves to invite the boys in for another photo-call.”
RICK WITTER (Shed 7)
“I don’t want to be too critical because it’s difficult to judge after one hearing and I might change my mind. But it’s a bit of shame. I mean, the last album was pretty diabolical, apart from the singles, and this one doesn’t even really seem to have striking singles. It just seems a bit lacklustre and slow and noodly. It makes you wonder how much those two leaving had to do with what they thought of the songs on this. I think ‘Little James’ has a really nice sentiment behind it, though, but he maybe should’ve spent a bit longer on the words! Anyone else just wouldn’t get away with it and for that reason alone it’s ridiculous. But for a first attempt, good luck to him. I can’t see much more happening with them really. Already, Noel has said he wants to start writing with the other two members but in the past he’s always wanted to do everything so there’s a change there already. I think they should get on with that now really rather than milk this too much. It’s a bit sad and the end of an era in a sense. It’s not five lads from Burnage saying ‘fuck you’ to everyone any more and that was half the appeal.”
STEWART LEE (of Lee & Herring)
“Well, it’s better than the last one. I bought that one the day Diana died and I don’t know which thing was more depressing! One of the good, fun things about Oasis is spotting what they’ve nicked and it’s the same with this one. The first track is exactly Led Zeppelin, the third one sounds like The Stone Roses and ‘Little James’ is (i)so(i) ‘Hey Jude’ I can’t understand how he can do it and not be embarrassed! I think it’s a shame there’s swearing in the first song’s title. The little kids will be getting that out and saying ‘Dad, what’s that mean?’ He’ll have to say ‘It’s a rude word and you mustn’t use it when gran’s around.’ And it’ll be Oasis’fault. Everyone likes them and it’s a shame to introduce swearing into that. I’m serious about that as well. It’s not great but people will be relieved at how much better it is than the third one. A lot of people who buy Oasis only buy about five albums a year so they don’t have much to compare it with anyway. They’ll think it’s not as good as ‘Urban Hymns’ but it’s better than Hurricane #1. It does its job. Which is damning with faint praise really.”