Bombastic, brawling, brilliant… there are many adjectives that have been used to describe Oasis – and many of the most flattering ones have come directly from the group itself.
As with anything the marble-mouthed Manchester lads put out, Don’t Believe the Truth, their first album since 2002’s Heathen Chemistry, is sure to earn them many more colorful descriptions.
“Lyla,” the first single, will sate any hunger pangs for Oasis’ familiar guitar jangles. But if you ask Noel Gallagher, he’ll tell you the truth about the song: It wasn’t his first – or even second – choice.
“We’d just forgotten about recording it, so we hastily cobbled together my original demo and did a bit more work on it, mixed it, and it’s come out pretty well,” he said. “But it’s not a fair representation of the album to me. It’s not even like the fifth or sixth best track on the album, but it’s the most radio friendly. So we’re basically saying we don’t get to choose our own singles anymore; it’s something I will be addressing before I sign a new record deal.”
Alrighty then. The short-fused Gallagher let loose when asked about the recently shot “Lyla” video, as well.
“Let me clear that up,” said Gallagher, who promises to switch off the telly when the video airs. “I f–ing loathe videos. This is not the reason why I started a band, to stand on a video stage all day and mime a song 500 times, knowing that when you get to the end of the 499th, you’re thinking, ‘I don’t even f–ing like this song anymore, it’s stupid.’ But it’s a necessary evil for me.
“I turn up, they put their little cross [of tape] on the stage, and they say, ‘You stand there and do your thing,’ and you do it as best you can and hope that the guy who’s doing the video does a good job. There’s only ever been one criterion, and that’s to make us look 10 years younger. You get that right and I’m fine.”
Perhaps the fact that the band recorded some of the songs for Don’t Believe the Truth in California created a slightly sunnier experience for the group? Nah: crossing the pond to work at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles was a dicey deal, according to Gallagher.
“It’s like they can’t do without the doughnuts and the coffee and all of that,” he said. “So we got into a huddle in the corner [and said], ‘Do we really wanna go?’ Because it’s like that scene in ‘Star Wars’ when the little ship flies into the Death Star. It’s kinda like that with us.”
On the other hand, the two months spent in the U.S. were “actually the longest time I’ve spent in America without anything going t-s up, which was incredible.”
All four members wrote for the album. It opens with Andy Bell’s “Turn Up the Sun” and Liam Gallagher’s “Love Like a Bomb,” then delves into “The Meaning of Soul” and “Guess God Thinks I’m Abel,” a title that perplexed Noel when he figured out how to spell it.
“For about three months, we all thought that song was called ‘Guess God Thinks I’m Able,’ as in an able-bodied man,” he explained. “So we’re coming to write the track listing one day and [Liam] goes, ‘It’s not f–ing “Able,” it’s “Abel,” ‘ and he wrote it out and we were all kinda looking at each other, going, ‘Hmmm.’ I had to go back and listen to it, and then I was just sat down thinking about it and the story of Cain and Abel.”
After some contemplation, he added, “I’m thinking, ‘Well, that’s very religious and biblical and it’s a bit deep.’ But… the first line of the song is ‘You could be my lover’ which… you’d have to speak to Liam about. He has a religious fixation with [Abel] and Jesus, I think. It’s very strange.”
Oasis plan to tour the States later this year, but fans awaiting the June and September dates might want to light some candles and pray for the rowdy group to ensure all goes to plan. Gallagher is already predicting some mayhem. “There’s gonna be us and Jet and [Kasabian]. That’s gonna be f–ing mental. I’m gonna need to have a liver transplant when I get back. It’s gonna be good, though, I can’t wait.”
As for whether the relationship between the brothers Gallagher will hold up for the entire trip, “It’s always the same,” Noel said. “It starts off great and then somewhere, usually in America, I don’t know why… probably the sight of cactus plants or something like that… [it] freaks [Liam] out. Then he oversteps the mark a little bit and… it degenerates from there. It starts out great, then it just ends up being a bit of a shame, really. We’ll see what happens this year.”