Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory? (1995)


Released October 1995

Recorded at Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Wales

Oasis's second album was as hard-hitting and anthem-packed as their sonically-explosive debut "Definitely Maybe" had been. There were several enhancements, however - increased use of strings and other varied instrumentation as well as that trademark guitar bombast.

This more than welcome 2014 remaster gives the album a far more subtle sonic makeover, bringing out far more nuances that were detectable on the crashing original. This improvement is not quite clear on the opener, the Gary Glitter-influenced "Hello", which just sounds a little quieter, less clashing than the original. "Roll With It", however, sees a vast improvement, you hear all sorts of things in that were previously buried away - a clearer guitar sound, less deafening drums and a melodic bass. The iconic "Wonderwall" is even better. It sounds bloody marvellous. Sumptuous bass on it and those acoustic guitars are crystal clear. "Look Back In Anger" has percussion that now sounds much clearer and this is one of those tracks where the string backing really came into its own. These four tracks - "Hello", "Roll With It", Wonderwall" and "Look Back In Anger" - one of the finest openings to a album? Up there, surely? "Hey Now", the next track, was no slouch, either. It initially suffered from the murky, crashing production, however, and even now that cannot be completely cured. It will always sound a bit like that, but that is part of Oasis's sound. Despite Oasis's eschewing of traditional rock (something I was never convinced by), it is packed full of traditional rock guitar, as many of their songs were.

Oasis came on the scene a generation after my halcyon days so I was always someone who listened to them from a boring, washed-out old punk's position so I cannot assess their effect on my life (they had none) or even culturally, in a general sense, particularly well. I just know they had something in their chutzpah and raucous, "don't give a stuff" attitude and muscular guitar attack that appealed to me. I loved the cover too - "Selectadisc" record shop on London's Berwick Street clearly visible, a shop and I street I visited many, many times. Pretty much every day during a period when I was walking around London as a publishing company rep.

"Some Might Say" is another classic Oasis anthem, and another one drenched in seventies-style guitar riffs. Liam Gallagher's distinctive, sneering vocal is so redolent of the mid nineties. Again, the remaster tones down a tiny bit of the bombast and that guitar bit around two minutes in comes to a new life. "Cast No Shadow" is a lesser-mentioned, underrated number and it sounds great here - superb, full and melodic bass and crystal clear acoustic guitars. The rhyme scheme in the jaunty "She's Electric" is a little simplistic (as were several of their lyrics) but I can't help but like it. It just makes me smile, particularly the "I quite fancy your mother line...." with its laddish cheekiness.

The title track is, for me, the weakest on the album. The seems a little to formulaic and lazy to me. This is remedied by the anthemic "Champagne Supernova", of course. There has always been something very Rolling Stones in it, in the way it uses acoustic and electric guitars. The vocals are clearly different, but just something about it. On this remaster the bass is once again sublime and the drum sound too. Listen just after the "why, why, why..." bit. Great stuff. A great remastering effort.

The many high quality extras, such as "Acquiesce", "The Masterplan", their stonking cover of Slade's "Come On Feel The Noise" and the superb live cuts make this a more than worthy re-release to get hold of.


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