Releasing an album that became representative of its time has been a blessing and a curse for Oasis. (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? arrived at the perfect juncture, a period when producing anthemic, arena-friendly pop rock had yet to become every major British band’s reason for being. In 1995 everything old was new again, and the group’s guitar-heavy, Beatles-influenced anachronisms ruled the airwaves, at least for a moment.
In the ensuing decade, brothers Liam and Neil Gallagher have sought to recreate Morning Glory with varying results. Dig Out Your Soul is something of a return to form, delivering the band’s classic—if sometimes formulaic—replication of first-wave English rock. All of the required elements are in place: the soaring-yet-simplistic melodies; the catchy choruses; the oohs, aahs, and c’mons; and the sturdy riffage. Several tracks would work as superior radio fodder, provided that pop radio still played rock ’n’ roll—and provided anybody listened.
But Dig Out Your Soul will probably just serve as a likeable postcard from the past. Many of the tracks are as memorable as those delivered on the band’s first two biggest-selling albums, but the time just doesn’t seem right. Coldplay has already cornered the market for classic-rock classicism. What’s left of it, anyway.