Not a mirage: Oasis' new album brings the refreshment.
Since 1995's brass-ring-snatching (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, Oasis' Gallagher brothers have matched the British media's hype, rung for rung, with musical grandiosity. Neither the band nor the press have seemed willing to admit that Oasis was not haute cuisine, but good grub -- pop played with diamond-hard attitude and working-class frankness. But with Don't Believe the Truth, the bloated arrangements are gone, the touchstone of mid-period Beatles is back, and the lyrics are more or less platitude-free. Main writer Noel has something to say again, particularly in the pub wisdom of "Mucky Fingers" ("You found your god in a paper bag, traded your history for the Union Jack"), and the gravel in main singer Liam's nose is still the perfect lead instrument for icy, psychy gems like "Guess God Thinks I'm Abel." As ever, Oasis cuts and pastes melodies -- from the Stones, the Stranglers, the old club hit "Let the Music Play" (!) -- but compared to the flagrant misuse of entire orchestras, serial plagiarism is nearly an endearing quirk.