Oasis: Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants
Epic / Sony Music
Few pop bands possess the innate ability to "tell it like it is" through their music. So many groups of yesteryear and today have been molded into cookie cutter acts by the major labels, intent on selling "for the moment" with no regard for the longevity of the act. This creates sterility in music and produces merely watered down versions of what songs were originally intended to sound like. This is where Oasis differs from many others. Their fifth and most current release, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants is typically Oasis - the album has a melodic hollowness about it that gives the listener instant familiarity and a sense of musical direction; something that only a grandiose act such as Oasis can achieve.
There is a certain resolute chemistry in the current Oasis mix. Recently recruited band members are Gem Archer on rhythm guitar (formerly of Heavy Stereo) and Andy Bell on bass guitar (ex Hurricane #1). Oasis prove, despite members' "issues", they still possess the magical ability to write, sing and play the music they want while having the clairvoyance to deliver precisely what their legion of fans wish to hear.
The lion share of the positive musical chemistry on ...Giants may be attributed to Noel Gallagher and his infinite rock 'n roll fiber. The behind-the-scenes songwriter and part-time singer is the frame on which Oasis stand. He provides vocal backup in Where Did it All Go Wrong? and Sunday Morning Call as well as rock solid music for all ten tracks. His capable production abilities are also evident on this new album, proving he's not your regular rock 'n roll mug punter!
The album's tracks are varied enough in content. The consistency is surprising due to the fact the band recruited a new producer for the disc. Mark 'Spike' Stent, of Madonna, Massive Attack and Bjork fame, was able to, according to Noel, capture the essence and feel of dance music. This feel has been caught well and permeates much of the album. The collaboration works well instrumentally which differs somewhat from previous releases - less guitar work, and interesting experimentation (Who Feels Love, with its backwards guitar samples, and flute on Gas Panic).
If one listens closely to some of the underlying melodies, evidence of bands like the Doors (Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is), Steve Winwood (F*#ckin in the Bushes) and the Beatles shine throughout. Oasis makes no excuses for this cross-section in their sound. They openly pay hommage to groups like the Sex Pistols and the Beatles and attribute their musicality and influences with confidence. There is no doubt that Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants demonstrates a musical arrogance developed from the early albums. Confidence backed by talent such as this is getting rarer these days. Bring on the next one, I say.
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