Oasis

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Time Flies . . . 1994-2009Big Brother ****

No nonsense. It’s all the singles from 1994’s Supersonicto last year’s rather underwhelming Falling Down. Oddly, they’re not in chronological order, as compiler Noel Gallagher, wanted this double album to “feel like a gig – a very long one”. But part of the appeal of this end-of-career compilation was supposed to be tracing the band as they went from leery lager louts to rock star cocaine heads to mature Britpop survivors.

Yes, Oasis were derivative; no, they weren’t The Aphex Twin, but once you let go of whatever reflexes may be triggered by the very mention of their name and play these 27 songs back to back, you can take more than a sanguine view of their ups, downs, hits and misses. Some of the best guitar pop music of the last 20 years can be heard here.

You know the drill with Oasis albums: the first two were great and the following five simply didn’t meet expectations. It’s not that the Gallaghers snorted away their careers; it’s just that personnel changes, squabbling and dwindling creative powers saw them, studio album-wise, go from a sprint to a canter to a limp.

Still, the glory days sound magnificent: it’s just a cascade of exuberance, with Live Foreverand the underrated Whateverlosing none of their lustre. But the gaps soon open up. All Around the Worldis a bloated shambles, with whatever song was once there overdubbed out of existence.

The second half of their career, supposedly the artistically barren years, really leaps out at you here. The Importance of Being Idle(perhaps their best single), Little By Littleand Liam Gallagher’s jaunty Songbirdshow that they could pull it out of the bag when they wanted to, but blithe inconsistency spoils the effect.

After one bout of handbags too many, it’s now all over bar the inter-sibling shouting. Time for all to look back in equanimity. See oasisnet.com

Download tracks: Whatever, The Importance of Being Idle

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