It?s a true sign of the maturation of the self-professed ?world?s greatest rock and roll band? that headmaster Noel Gallagher continues to relinquished his stranglehold on the songs that make the final cut, to the point of giving the coveted opening track to the band?s sixth consecutive chart-topping album to another bandmember, namely bassist (and former Ride guitarist) Andy Bell. [Consolation prize: the album was released on Noel?s 38th birthday.] Sacrificing ego for the good of the band ? what a hitherto unfathomable concept, but something that has benefited all involved, resulting in perhaps the group?s most varied effort to date. Our Kid still mumbles his way through most of his tracks, such that Bell?s opening salvo ?Turn Up The Sun? sounds like ?Turn up the sound/Turn it up for everyone,? but the latest in a long line of Oasis? misinterpreted lyrics actually works in their favor ? it is indeed time to ?turn it up? and welcome the lads back from a nearly decade long hibernation that nevertheless saw them recently entered into the Guiness Book of World Records as Britain?s ?Most successful rock act of the last decade 1995-2005? with an astonishing 766 weeks in the UK singles and albums charts.
Much has been written about the Velvet Underground rip-off, ?Mucky Fingers,? but that?s completely unfair and uncalled for, as nearly every indie band of the last 40 years has ripped off Reed & Co in one form or another. Besides, it shows that Noel has expanded his record collection beyond The Beatles catalogue! ?Street Fighting Man? was always at the top of my list of songs Oasis should cover on one of their EPs, but Noel has done the next best thing by re-writing it as ?Lyla? and their fans have rewarded such brazen audacity by making the album?s lead single the band?s seventh number one hit, and what a stomping, ass-kicking shouter it is!
Liam?s unabashed Lennon fixation continues on ?Love Like a Bomb,? which also garners guitarist Gem Archer his second co-writing credit. With lyrics like ?You turn me on/Yer love?s like a bomb/Yer blowing my mind? and ?I?m seeing a whole ?nother world in my mind? accompanying his ?la la la? chorus, it successfully revisits ?Sgt. Pepper? and the Summer of Love in fine fashion.
I wasn?t too excited about the disjointed, campy, music hall shenanigans on Noel?s ?The Importance Of Being Idle? or his flat time-passer ?Part Of The Queue,? which suggests that leasing out half the songwriting chores to his mates was a good idea after all! And Our Kid?s other tracks ? the short, Hives-inspired garage blast ?The Meaning Of Soul? and ?Guess God Thinks I?m Abel,? which is all verse, no chorus, both lack much-needed hooks to warrant return listens. But things improve considerably with Bell?s ?Keep the Dream Alive,? one of the few tracks on here that recalls past glories, and Gem?s ?A Bell Will Ring,? which builds upon the basic melody from The Beatles? ?Rain? for a perfect three-minute psychedelic pop explosion.
As one of ?Heathen Chemistry??s few champions, I had hoped the second album together would cement Gem and Andy?s assimilation into the Gallagher?s inner sanctum and deliver a triumphant return to previous heights. Unfortunately, it?s with great disappointment that I must report that ?Don?t Believe the Truth? is not great?merely good. And while their tossaways are still better than most current act?s A-list material, for an act of Oasis stature and reputation, ?good? is just not good enough. Hey, I just had a crazy thought: maybe Guigsy and Bonehead were the real glue that held those early classics together after all? Things just haven?t been the same since they left? 7/10 -- Jeff Penczak (18 July, 2005)