Ever since the
Brothers Gallagher decided it would be a nifty idea to promote their British
rock band as the best thing to happen to music since the Beatles found Ringo,
their albums have somewhat inevitably been anticlimactic. I mean, it's hard to
think of any release that could live up to the advance hype Noel and Liam
disseminated about last year's Be Here Now (Epic).
Which is part of what makes this collection of British B-sides such a
pleasure: in the absence of the usual pre-release boasting blitz, it's so much
easier to appreciate how well Oasis handle a hook. Despite its ominous title,
The Masterplan (out this Tuesday), which features tracks recorded
between 1994 and 1997, also benefits from being looser and more playful
than the band's last two albums, both of which seemed designed to steamroller
the listener into melodic submission. Little touches, like the simple handclap
rhythm track and distant cough that accent the moody acoustic "Talk Tonight,"
for example, offer a relaxed respite from the slamming guitars of "Acquiesce"
and the layered production of "Underneath the Sky." And the instrumental
harmonica-flavored blues rock of "The Swamp Song" and a cover of "I Am the
Walrus" (both live) are solid reminders that the Brothers Gallagher aren't so
bad when they shut up and play.
-- Matt Ashare