Are there really only 14 years dividing Oasis' classic 1994 debut Definitely Maybe and the new Dig Out Your Soul? Noel and Liam Gallagher have been past-their-prime rock stars for so long it almost seems like they really did start out in the '60s with The Beatles, Stones, and every other band they've famously borrowed from. At this point, anything Oasis gets the benefit of being graded on a generous curve. No one expects another Exile On Main St.; Voodoo Lounge would be just fine, lads.
Coming after 2005's Don't Believe The Truth—the kind of surprisingly listenable but still mostly forgettable record that most bands save for 25th anniversary tours—Dig Out Your Soul continues Oasis' relatively impressive late-period resurgence. Noel's decision to make the band a songwriting democracy several years ago has paved the way for some unexpectedly strong creative contributions from Liam, who boasts one of his best tunes yet with the swirling psych-pop ballad "I'm Outta Time." (How sad that guitarist Andy Bell, formerly of great early '90s shoegazers Ride, is still creatively MIA from Oasis, only turning in the rote stomper "The Nature Of Reality.") Noel, meanwhile, defends his title as the worst lyricist in Britpop history on "Bag It Up," forcing his brother to sing tossed-off silliness like "I got my heebie jeebies in a little bag" with a no-shit sneer. Much better is "The Shock Of The Lightning," a propulsive rocker that shamelessly apes Oasis' mid-'90s sound. It's no "Live Forever," but it'll do.