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Heathen Chemistry

Release Date: 07.02.02
Record label: Sony
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.


by: peter naldrett - uk correspondent

Two drab albums had blasted Oasis off their Britpop pedestal and placed them on the edge of the musical abyss. They needed to return to their routes, provide an album full of great rock anthems and prove they could still compete with the best.

Heathen Chemistry answers the critics and does more besides. It's everything that an Oasis album should be. It rocks, it's addictive, you can sing along to everything and it's littered with Beatles influences. Forget the last two albums, push them to the back of your collection and let them gather dust. If Oasis had brought Heathen Chemistry out straight after Definitely Maybe and What's The Story (Morning Glory) there would have been no talk of Oasis going astray during the late 1990s.

The number one single "The Hindu Times" marked the start of their comeback and this is what gets the new long-player blasting into action, with a beautiful and familiar noise. But there is no let up before Noel Gallagher takes over the vocals from Liam and belts out the superb "Force of Nature," which just has to be a single because it's Oasis at their most powerful and rock-like.

It's not much of a secret that Noel is consistently a better and smoother singer that Liam and he certainly has the upper hand on Heathen Chemistry. A lot of Liam's songs are not delivered with the gusto that Noel gives to "Force of Nature" and "Little by Little." But even so, you have to grant that Liam's performance on "Hung in a Bad Place" and "Born on a Different Cloud" is exactly what Oasis fans have been crying out for. His vocals on the new single, "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" give the band their best ballad since "Wonderwall" and it amounts to a turning point in their history. And with lines like "You're smoking all my stash/you're burning all my cash," it's a positive return to the high of rock 'n' roll.

Already noted for their allegiance to the Beatles, Oasis do not shy away from letting the Merseysiders influence their Manchester style. The beginning of "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" had the feel of "Imagine," while "(Probably) All in the Mind" has the Fab Four stamped all over it and would be just at home on Revolver as on Heathen Chemistry.

It's a classic Oasis album and those of you who loved the first two will once again reap pleasures from this one, right down to the simple and neat instrumentals such as "A Quick Peep" that fill in the gaps.

If there is one criticism it's that it's far too short. Just 11 tracks are included and you've not to be fooled by the 76 minute reading your CD player might give because the last track waits an eternity before giving a reprise. But do not be deterred. This is Oasis getting back to the form that made them our best rock act. 03-Jul-2002 1:54 PM