Category Archives: Oasis

Oasis – Heathen Chemistry

Oasis – Heathen Chemistry

3/5

2002

Change doesn’t come easy to Oasis. Be it the bloated arrangements of Be Here Now or the electronic and psychedelic accents of Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants, the Gallaghers never seemed to find a way to effectively expand the sound of their first two albums while also delivering a consistently great batch of songs. So instead of broadening their horizons, Heathen Chemistry documents Oasis’ attempt at going back to basics as a rock and roll band, even adding songwriting contributions from each member of the band. While it seems that Oasis would be better off returning to their strengths—since, after all, progressing as a band resulted in a number of false starts—Heathen Chemistry still unfortunately suffers from some of the same flaws as their previous albums.

While Heathen has an appropriately rougher sound to compliment their more straightforward approach, there isn’t much punch to it, often feeling just as blunted as their last album. This mainly has to do with the return of producer Mark “Spike” Stent, who also helmed Giants, which, for all its dips into new styles, sounded constricted. In other words, when the guitars should crunch or soar, they thud and feel muted. Of course, this wouldn’t matter as much if the songs were consistently strong, which isn’t always the case either. Yet, when the production matches with the right song, Oasis sound as good as they ever were. Lead single “The Hindu Times” soars with its infectious Eastern-inspired guitar riff and powerful hook; Liam’s short, sweet, country-inspired “Songbird” is just as excellent (also, tellingly, the song that sounds the least like the others). The not-bad-at-all ballad “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” and the heavy “(Probably) All In The Mind” are also fine additions. Yet,”Hung In A Bad Place” and “Little By Little” are so generic that they border on self-parody, and many others follow suit.

The record usually sounds fine while it’s playing, but very little of it sticks in the mind. Considering Noel Gallagher used to write so many great songs that even Oasis’ early B-side collection The Masterplan is among their best albums, Heathen Chemistry can’t help but seem more than a little disappointing.

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