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chemistry lesson

The mirror and the razor blade are things of the past and so are the sibling slap-fights; the new record is great and they’re headlining T in the Park. Just what is going on with Oasis? Words: James Smart

I must be tough being the biggest rock

band in the world. Not that Oasis would

know any more. They released one of rock's greatest debuts and followed it with one of the biggest selling British records ever. before spectaCularly failing to crack America. getting tangled up in high profile weddings and painful divorces. haemorrhaging band members and releasing two decent—to- middling albums that felt like expensive afterthoughts. But they still mean so much to so many people.

That's part of the problem. Oasis roared from the alternative scene to the record books with an astonishing speed. They touched a nation's youth in a way that few rock bands have ever done. Their Scottish gigs have the ring of past battles. T in the Park. 94. Irvine Beach. 95. lngliston. 96. Loch Lomond. 96. Murrayfield 00. the Barras 01. In seCuring immortality they've seemed to set themselves in stone: so many people had great memories of the first time they heard. saw or felt the band that each time they returned. they seemed a little more removed. It seemed like. because we would never be the same. neither

w0uld Oasis. It sometimes felt like they were something to be left behind like puberty and centre partings.

They're back. This T in the Park appearance will be their first major Scottish gig in two years (in Oasis scale. 4000 people over two nights at the Barrowland is a personal visit). Heathen Che/iiistry is a bold. intoxicating return to form. With three songs from Liam and one apiece from Gem and Andy Bell. it's their first real team effort. and the first to be produced by the band themselves. which makes its lack of overlong codas and self-indulgent rifting a very pleasant surprise. The message seems to be: we've changed. have yeti?

‘lt's been a lot eaSier,' says a relaxed- sounding Noel. ‘In the past when we'd be recording albums. if you'd be going up the wrong path with one song. you'd turn to get a second Opinion and Liam'd usually burp and open another can of lager. and Bonehead'd fart and Guigsy'd skin up. and that'd usually be pretty much it. So it'd be like “Well, I'd better do it myself then." But now everyone's got an Opinion so it's a lot less of my input

and a lot more of everyone else's.‘

If it's surprising that Oasis have discovered democracy. the arrival of a harmonious atmosphere in a band whose name was once a byword for bickering is even more shocking. ‘The spikiness is still there.‘ says Liam. ‘but not so much. i.-.'e've grown up a bit. we've got

kids. The band's more important to ll‘O than it's ever 3 been. And being a part of a 5 band is more important than it's ever been. And I think it's ' the same for him. So theres no more arguing. \.'.’e're in a ever been . . . 5 there 5 no ' ! more argumg

better place.‘ It's wonh taking Liam's caterpillar butterfly/- style transformation frOll‘ loutish \‘y’lltill‘iil‘i to Zen ii‘aster With a pinch of salt iit ‘.'.'asii't too long ago tha was last Snapped ruckiiig With a bouncer outside the Met Bari. but his calri‘. still bodes well.

Noel. iiieaiii.-.ihile. Clalll‘S not to have taken cocaine for four years. He's even happy to be Singing abom love. lip 35 now. I do what I want. I can wear chunky sweaters. and have