David Browne
February 28, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Standing on the Shoulder of Giants

Current Status
In Season
Rock, Pop

We gave it an B

In a press statement that accompanies Oasis’ latest album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, group mastermind Noel Gallagher attempts to show he’s down with the 21st century by mentioning drum loops, ”funky keyboard noises,” ”underground club culture,” and hip-hop. Also, the album was produced by Mark ”Spike” Stent (whose credits include Björk and Massive Attack).

The results ARE less clotted and grating than 1997’s ”Be Here Now,” and the sonic openness allows Gallagher’s melodies and guitar and his brother Liam’s pissy bray to shine brighter (they’re the only original band members left, by the way). Liam’s first attempt at songwriting, an ode to his adopted son called ”Little James,” is a wee treacly, but it personifies what’s so charming about these guys — their very human, and very public, screwups.

Elsewhere in that press release, Noel uses ”groovy” and describes one song’s ”Paul McCartney-esque bass line,” and those word choices are just as symbolic. The secondhand feel of most Oasis songs is now joined by another troublesome trend: a discernible album formula. As on prior records, mod-squad rocker (here, the bracing double shot of ”Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is” and ”I Can See a Liar”) is followed by sweeping ’60s-ornamented ballad, followed in turn by song with unnecessary punctuation (”Gas Panic!”, ”Go Let It Out!”). ”We’re the keepers of the destiny,” Liam sings, but that destiny increasingly involves recycling not only rock’s past but Oasis’ own as well.

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