RECORDS

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The Independent Culture
Oasis: (What's the Story) Morning Glory (Creation, CD/LP/tape, out tomorrow). Beware: this record bears the tell-tale signs of premature Wellering. It took Paul Weller decades to age from angry young man to crotchety old man; Morning Glory is only his young disciples' second album, and already they are mellower, slower, more old-fashioned, more hippy, more MOR. Perhaps they have expended all their aggression on saying nasty things about Blur. Songs stretch to an average of five minutes, and the crashing guitars are cushioned with organs, cellos, high backing vocals and other effects you can find on your favourite Beatles records. More surprisingly, "Wonderwall", one of the best tracks, admits a degree of self-doubt which could appeal to those put off by the Gallagher brothers' in-yer-face (or fist-in-yer-face) demeanour. Then there's "She's Electric": to rip off "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" once is a misfortune, to rip it off twice is forgivable only when the result has the lyrics: "She's got a brother/We don't get on with one another/But I quite fancy her mother". The irony is that Oasis have produced more of a drunken, chirpy, karaoke record than their "mockney" rivals. Definitely Maybe was a before-you-go-out album, this is an after-you-stagger-home one. Skilful and even magical in a middle-aged kind of way, but I can't help thinking that younger fans may be - definitely may be - a little bored. Nicholas Barber

k d lang: All You Can Eat (Warner, CD/LP/tape, out tomorrow). Kathryn Dawn Lang's first album since 1993's ill-fated Even Cowgirls Get the Blues soundtrack is as lovely as you might expect. Even if a couple of tracks could be the wistful theme tune from a bittersweet Carla Lane sitcom, there's always an unexpected modulation or a sudden surge of strings to catch the ear. The arrangements are dreamy, creamy and quiet: a glittery swirl of harp here, a Doors organ evoking a surreal circus there, and a voice that floats and hangs in the air like smoke. Lyrically, lang gives it to you straight (or not, as the case may be), with sensuous monologues of love, desire and hope. NB

Garbage: Garbage (Mushroom, CD/LP/tape, out tomorrow). Having already guaranteed himself a footnote in the annals of rock, Butch Vig is making a bid to get a page to himself. The producer of Nirvana's Nevermind has teamed up with two other old producer blokes, and with Shirley Manson, formerly the sex-symbol-in-residence of Edinburgh's Goodbye Mr MacKenzie, to form Garbage. Possibly the world's first gothic-grunge-disco band, the only resemblance to Nirvana is that they play fantastic pop songs with fuzzy guitars. The producer blokes have had a field day polishing and buffing, adding spooky keyboards, hip-hop beats and a Spielberg of effects. Manson's job is breathing lots of dominatrix come-ons: "Hey boy take a look at me, let me dirty up your mind ..." - sexy, if you go for Morticia Addams. Is it titillating, and rather adolescent, artifice? Is it perfectly produced play-acting? Is Garbage a Bat Out of Hell for the Nineties? Listen to it a few dozen times, then decide. NB

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