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Album Review: Oasis (What's the Story) Morning Glory Creation CRE CD 189

This is a bit cheeky, even for a thieving pop magpie like Noel Gallagher, you think as the opening song on Oasis's sophomore offering resolves itself into a closing chorus of "Hello, hello, it's good to be back, it's good to be back." And indeed it is. Both cheeky and good to have them back, that is. There's nothing quite as blatant on the rest of the album, though; it's as if, mindful of his own reputation as the light-fingered Larry of modern pop, Gallagher has just strolled into his latest confrontation with the listening public and headbutted us all in the face with a pre-emptive strike. So, he's saying, I nick stuff. Wanna make something of it?

Well, no, not really. What Noel's making of it is fine by me, thanks - except for when the group dons its Blur zip-up jackets and Supergrass stick-on sideburns to do the hokey-cokey up the apples 'n' pears to Mr Kite's music hall on "She's Electric", which is laddism of a tiresomely generic kind: "She's got a cousin, and she's got one in the oven, but it's nothing to do with me." But that's only a momentary aberration. For the most part, (What's the Story) Morning Glory divides into the guitar-rock of their debut and a more pensive ballad direction, which in songs like "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "Cast No Shadow" speaks loudly of melancholy and alienation. Throughout, it's Gallagher's way with a tune, any tune, that remains their trump card, as in the way "Some Might Say" piles hook upon hook, shamelessly buttressing its assault on the memory: well, if that bit doesn't get you humming, it suggests, how about this bit? Or this?

Such faults as there are are largely down to the sequencing, which ensures that the album starts in low-key fashion with "Hello" and the drab but chummy "Roll with It", and ends in the euphoria of "Morning Glory" and "Champagne Supernova", the best things here. A stoned gaze into the face of destiny, the seven-minute epic "Champagne Supernova" builds to a "Dear Mr Fantasy" epiphany; the cocaine anthem "Morning Glory", meanwhile, surfs along on a swell of guitars, Liam Gallagher pondering how "All your dreams are made/ When you're chained to the mirror and the razor- blade". It's a brilliant piece of work, challenging and commercial - if this, rather than "Roll with It", had been up against "Country House", I suspect things might have been different.