Friday, February 12, 2010

FDF Volume 2: Issue 172 Oasis - Be Here Now

By: March

Album - Be Here Now
Artist - Oasis
Key Players - Liam Gallagher - vocals. Noel Gallagher - lead guitar, vocals. Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs - rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar. Paul McGuigan - bass guitar. Alan White - drums, percussion. Mike Rowe - keyboards

Produced By - Owen Morris and Noel Gallagher

Release Date - August 21, 1997

What caused me to blow off the dust? - The first few records from this band are really great. I mean REALLY great but they never seem to get much attention barring the bigger radio singles. I found the last few studio records to be sort of dull as well, but in going back to this (and other records) I think I need to track down the last 1-2 that I have bailed on and listen for gems there.

Overview - This is the 3rd full length album from Manchester England's Oasis. Formed in 1991 by two brothers, the band would become critical darlings with the audience to follow. The band has a rabid fan base that has slowly rolled to American shores. The band would headline stadiums overseas, but in the States they'd sell smaller theaters on their early tours. With a retro sound, a major love of the Beatles, the battling brothers would often get in to fist fights before, during or after shows. The band would battle its demons with drugs and alcohol, but the first few records would each seem to only catapult the band to bigger and more ravenous fans.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - There is a long slow fade (actually buzzing airplanes) that begin "D'You Know What I Mean?". A track (one of three that clock over 7 minutes on the record). It takes a bit to build with guitars and drums breaking down, then picking up. Liam comes in with the trademark swagger vocals and the band is locked in. The chorus has a great deep hook on it and Noel harmonizes over the top of Liam and the band keeps its focus before the first burst of a guitar solo takes place. There are a few more solos that occur, but Noel keeps them standard and within the limits of the track. The track fades with what sounds like a reverse loop on the guitar "My Big Mouth" is next and opens up far more chaotic. The big wall of guitars and drums before locking in to a groove. Liam shakes the tambourine on this one like a manic. People perhaps don't see the band as a "rock" band, but this proves anyone wrong. Noel once again shows his chops on the solo but on this track you start to really hear all the other rolls being filled. Its big, bombastic, loud and at times scary good. It mellows out more on . "Magic Pie" a track that is layered with acoustic guitars. Noel starts off the lead vocals on this with a compression on his voice and keyboard fill over, before the band comes in and it gets a little more rowdy. The end is very odd with some sort of samba record being played. A live staple is next in "Stand by Me". It is not a cover of the classic Ben E. King, but an original piece. Liam is back at the helm for the lead vocals and the band has a pretty laid back approach, but as the chorus grows near the band gets more urgent and there are some string section fills as well. A true diamond in the rough (for me personally) is "I Hope, I Think, I Know". This is one track I'd play for someone that says they don't like Oasis, or their "hits". It just rips vocally, instruments wail and get Champagne Supernova so far out of your head. Leading to the chorus the band really gets going and Liam really pushes himself with excellent result. "The Girl in the Dirty Shirt" returns to a little less rowdy version of the band, but none the less "full". One thing I've noticed this far into the record is Oasis has a big/full sound and are proud to show it off. In reading about this record I was surprised to read that Johnny Depp (yes that Johnny Depp) plays slide guitar on "Fade In-Out". The song takes a bit to get rolling (about 3:08 in) and has the first real "beatles" reference when they utter the words Helter Skelter. The slide solo is pretty darn good actually, and I had NO idea. Well done. "Don't Go Away" is a more acoustic lead number again. It sort of calms the listener once again. There appears to be another string section and there is an extended acoustic guitar fade out. The title track comes next in "Be Here Now". The heavier guitar returns and the band falls in to unison quickly on this straight up rocking tune. The longest track on the disc is "All Around the World" at over 9 minutes long. The band goes for a laid back intro but the song has a poppy feel to it, even if the vocals are laid back. The song continues to grow to be a big huge sing along of feel goodness! We get horns, guitars and it just grows and grows. It would be a perfect album closer, but the band has other ideas. (we actually get a 2 minute reprise as the album closer). Before that reprise is "It's Gettin' Better (Man!!)" another track that opens with big guitars and it is off to the races. The lyrics are quick, the guitars are big, the bass and drums rumble. A very strong track.

Where are they now? - In recent months nobody can really tell. It looks like the long standing brotherly feud has caught up with Noel and Liam. Rumors of a band fight and breaking of a guitar in the later parts of 2009 caused Noel to announce he was leaving the band. Liam has gone on to say it is not Oasis without his brother. As far as the band being together its all rumors at the moment. In those rumors Liam is reported to have a new band with material ready to be released in the summer of 2010. Noel, who I feel is far more prolific, will surely have something coming.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - In looking I have only seen the band two times (I swear it was 3). Anyway the first was April 27, 2000 at the Orpheum. They were pretty darn tight and this was their first run of "larger venues" in the US. The second time was an opening slot for the Black Crowes??! That was June 11, 2001 at the much larger (what is now) Comcast Center. Oasis is pretty straight forward live, but they sound really good, and are way louder than you'd expect.

FDF Overall Take - The band was really at their height when this came out and some reviewers called in bloated and self indulgent. A lot of people don't care for Oasis for one reason or another (probably the bloated arrogance of the band members) but all that aside, this band knows how to write some pretty awesome tunes. If you are uncertain, check out the double live cd called "Live at Wembly". If that cd doesn't sell you, nothing will.

The band's official site as well as myspace.

Some great information on the record can be found in this Wiki article.

In lieu of me posting mp3's check out the Last FM page for this record.

*see my prior post about the mp3's*


At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Your Biggest Fan said...

Love this album!

At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Craig said...

great choice. I love this album too. I don't proclaim to be an Oasis junkie, but I think What's the story morning glory is still one of the best albums ever. Every single track is great, and very, very few albums are like that. Having said that, Oasis would always struggle to reach that height again. This album is also a good one. Regardless of the fact that Liam and Noel fight like cats and dogs, there is a musical chemistry there which is undeniable. Another later Oasis album which I though was pretty good in parts was "Heathen Chemistry".
Great choice and keep 'em coming.


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