Review Summary: Fans of Oasis, rejoice!
There’s really no point in recapping the story of Oasis, or explaining who Oasis is. Everyone knows about the music, the fights, and the legacy. Oasis has left its mark in the world of rock music with two of the most critically acclaimed albums of all time, and to this day ‘Wonderwall’ has proven to be one of the most popular and enduring songs in musical history. Sure, it can be argued Oasis hasn’t been good or relevant since 1995’s classic ‘What’s The Story (Morning Glory)’, but I guess it entirely depends on who you talk to. To some fans I’ve spoken to, the band never peaked and just kept producing consistent and amazing music. To others, Oasis has been dead a very long time.
Next to the opinion of the band itself, we all know about the breakup. When Noel Gallagher left the band in September of 09’, the band was finished. A ship without its’ captain, if you will.
As a casual fan of this band, I was surprised to discover Noel already had a solo album out, a live album entitled “The Dreams We Have As Children”, which can only be purchased through iTunes with the funds going towards the Teenage Cancer fund. Browsing through the iTunes store, I figured… why not give it a shot?
The first thing that I thought was quite striking about this album is how intimate it sounds, despite what sounds like a fairly massive production. Live albums essentially live or die by virtue of whether the album can recapture that amazing live experience you had while attending a particular concert. And despite the fact that there’s the presence of what sounds like a full orchestra, this album sounds incredibly intimate, like you’re in a tiny club with Noel plucking away at his guitar and singing his heart out. I didn’t attend this particular show, and listening to the album with a good set of headphones instills that feeling of, ‘I remember that’. Quite impressive.
The song selection is quite strong and for fans of Oasis I’m sure the set list will get you excited. While Noel does incorporate two of his biggest hit songs, ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ into the set, this album features more of the b-sides and relatively obscure tracks from the band’s singles, along with a good number of covers.
The covers, unfortunately, are the weakest parts of the album, in particular a cover of the Smiths’ masterpiece ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ sounds bizarrely stiff and awkward. Not unlistenable, but certainly a noticeably weak track compared to the rest. "All You Need Is Love" is okay, but unnecessary. The covers could've easily been replaced by some of Oasis' other tracks.
My other main qualm with the album is variation, which is lacking. This is not a terrible thing, as the album is consistent as a whole, but sometimes you'd wish the rockier side would leap out and maybe pick the energy up. The album doesn't lag at all, but some of the songs have a fairly similar quality to them as a whole. It's when the covers are played that you feel there's a level of variation, because they aren't Noel's songs, but because they are the wearker tracks you feel a little unfulfilled.
Thankfully and the covers aside, for the Oasis faithful, the rest of the album simply sounds fantastic, with all of the songs coming through beautifully. It’s mostly an acoustic album, so a lot of the songs are slowed down and strummed gently, along with the aforementioned orchestra backing Noel. Noel’s vocals also sound like he hasn’t aged a day since he first sang ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ in 1995, which is surprising considering it’s been 15 years now. Besides, he was always the better singer anyway (no offense Liam).
It’s hard to pick a highlight, as you realize just how much of a great songwriter Noel Gallagher really is, who always had a knack for writing the right melodies. 'Cast No Shadow' is still a soaring, poignant song, and 'Talk Tonight' sounds as earnest as ever.
For fans of Oasis, this album is simply a treat. It features plenty of great renditions of some of the more obscure Oasis songs that alot of the casual fans don't know about, and is above all a terrific live cd. Obviously, if you don’t dig on Oasis I’d advise you stay as far away as possible, but for the rest of you, you’re going to love this one.
With me trying to stay as objective as possible considering I've always liked alot of what Oasis has put out over time, I can safely say it’s a well produced live album full of great guitar pop.