non festival review
It’s here now
They are Britain's biggest band and this is their third album. Ladies and gentlemen, it's OASIS with Be Here Now. Words: Fiona Shepherd
It begins with the sound of an aeroplane cruising overhead. and a tangle of feedback and morse code. and ends with the sound of footsteps and a slammed door - hey! just like Roxy's ‘Love Is The Drug‘ and Wham!‘s ‘Club Tropicana‘. If only the intervening twelve tracks had a fraction of the former‘s groove and the latter‘s fun. But it doesn‘t. and X million Oasis fans across the globe won’t give a toss that it doesn’t. as the trademark components of the Oasis sound blitzkreig their eardrums again — those ‘corne together" lyrics. those nasal vocals. those guitars which can best be described as Oasisy. Yes. plenty Oasisy guitars. D’you know what I mean? Be Here Now is How To Write A Noel Gallagher Song In Twelve Steps. Remind me — is the third album traditionally The Difficult One or The Crap One“?
On the basis of Be Here Now. you could accuse Oasis of laziness — Britain's on its knees. America is slowly but surely following suit. the commercial success is in the bag and it’s probably staying there. More likely. Gallagher senior has been too busy falling in love and becoming rich to come tip with the goods — but if the inter-band strife of the past eighteen months wasn‘t a catalyst to kick back with some material with balls. then what will it take? Worst case scenario — his reservoir of classic tunes has dried up.
Perhaps it‘s not fair to look for radical progress so soon. It may feel that ()asis have existed since The
The simple—but-effective ‘Don't Go Away' sounds like this album's 'Wonderwall' and the zenith comes with the fiery Stone Roses-like jam of 'Fade
Oasis: the global market beckons
Beatles split. but it is only three albums. But if you are going to stick to what you know. do it with sparkle. To get down to the nitty-gritty on as positive a note as possible: there are some tracks which. were they written by other bands. could be described as ‘not bad as Oasis rip-offs go’ — ‘My Big Mouth‘ with its somersaulting guitars and full-on rock momentum being the best example. The simple~but~effective ‘Don’t Go Away‘ sounds like this album's ‘Wonderwall’ and the zenith comes with the fiery Stone Roses-likejam of ‘Fade ln-Out‘.
It’s disappointing enough to be confronted with the ‘here we go again’ utter familiarity of ‘Stand By Me’. but worse to hear something which sounds as familiar as the work of someone else — ‘Magic Pie’ is Welleresque. down to the title. and as well as flowing from a source far less inspired than the usual
suspects. it fails to reinvent itself in the image of
Oasis the way their Beatles-indebted stuff does. Then there is potential single ‘All Around The World‘. which is at least three times too long. as are several songs on the album (apologists may call this value for money. dissenters call it outstaying the welcome). Like a cack-handed ‘Whatever’. it could only impress someone who has never heard a stadium anthem or the use of an orchestra in pop.
That’s where Be Here Now will find its main enthusiastic adherents — in the remaining virgin territories of the global market. where Oasis haven’t been a fixture of cultural life for the past three years. where the classic moments from the first two albums aren’t etched irrevocably in the consciousness to provide the benchmark which the band should be matching with every subsequent release.
Or maybe that‘s taking it all too seriously. It's only Oasis. so let's get our hands in the air and find a lyric to chant inanely. How about ‘get your shit together' from ‘The Girl In The Dirty Shirt“?
So. the scores on the doors? Three stars out of five when judged against their peers. less when judged against their previous output.
Be Here Now is out on Creation on Thu 21 Aug.
review GLASGOW MUSIC
ROCK REVIEW The Verve
Glasgow: Barrowland, Sun 10 Aug *ir‘k‘k
Jeez, it’s hot in here. Punters stagger about looking like they’ve just shampoo'd their tresses with sweat and used the excess perspiration as a shower gel. Faces are red, constitutions are wilting, Simon Tong's keyboards are being regularly towelled down. However, it looks like nothing, not even short circuitry, is going to stop Richard Ashcroft. He laughs in the face of the heat. Humidity is his secret weapon. if you turn the furnace up, it will only strengthen him. Of course, his religious fervour could all be an act, but it's a bloody good one and, unlike many arrogant young pretenders, The Verve have the music to back up the inflated claims and the unswerving self-belief.
From the off, the sound is amazing. Barrowland becomes one massive echo chamber as pelvic basslines rumble forth and Nick McCabe’s spacey guitars engulf the room, but like Spiritualised, this is not soothing ambient balm. lt packs a punch. As the audience match the band for space cadet factor, shards of sound ricochet off the walls and the place goes mental. The doubts are dispelled, the rumours of trouble down t’pit fade into insignificance.
The mood ebbs and swells slightly, but mostly the five-piece sustain the epic tone They are one of the few bands who are good enough to find their sound and stick tort, adding layers rather than shooting off into other directions. You can start swaying distractedly, and suddenly it's the end of the set and you've been rocking yourself consistently throughout.
For some reason, the oldest material is given a bodyswerve, but A Northern Soul is revisited. 'This Is Music' wows early on, but the immaculate 'History’ is saved for the encore, surpassing ’Bittersweet Symphony' which is a little too Verve-by-numbers to really get astral.
They once opined that all farewells should be sudden, but fortunately these days The Verve are prepared to linger. For the fans, more is definitely more. (Fiona Shepherd)
The Verve: it's a kind of magic
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STAR RATINGS * it * t * Unmissable * i «k it Very ood 4: it it Wort seeing it * Below average it You've been warned
rs--2r Aug 1997 THE usr 115