Oasis Don't Believe the Truth

Oasis Don't Believe the Truth
After more than a decade as British rock’s leading proponent of recycling, Noel Gallagher may have finally run out of past to pillage. Over five albums he’s gleefully rifled through rock’s back pages, swiping a riff from Bowie here or cribbing a melody from Lennon & McCartney there whenever creativity waned. But now, having picked the Beatles/Stones/Who/Kinks canon clean, he’s all but exhausted England’s precious, non-renewable retro-rock reserves. In 2005, it seems that there’s almost nothing left for Oasis to cannibalise but Oasis themselves. On the patchy Don’t Believe the Truth, the battling Gallagher brothers aim to recapture the brash, balls-out tabloid-taunting swagger they’ve lacked since 1995’s (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (case in point: "Lyla,” the most Oasis-y Oasis single in years), but the introspective navel-gazing delivers middling results. Oasis are simply at their best when they’re stealing from the masters. "Mucky Fingers,” far and away the album’s best track, thieves cavalierly from the Velvets’ "Waiting for the Man,” and Liam Gallagher’s verses on "Lyla” are patterned so clearly after the Stones’ "Street Fighting Man” that Mick’n’Keef deserve a royalty cheque. But when Oasis revisit their own back catalogue, they’re less convincing: "Love Like a Bomb” and "Part of the Queue” sound like muted Be Here Now cast-offs stripped of their bombast and bloated string sections, while the meandering "Keep the Dream Alive” recalls Richard Ashcroft at his most mawkish. Normally, overt plagiarism docks you marks, but with Truth, you can’t help but wish Noel and co. had snuck a peek at their neighbour’s paper a little more often. (Sony BMG)