PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 October, 2008, 12:00am


Dig Out Your Soul

(Sony BMG)

It's easy to snipe at Oasis. Since they exploded on the scene 15 years ago, they've been outmanoeuvred, outplayed and outperformed by pretenders who've claimed their crown as the kings of British pop rock. Yet none have stayed the course. With the same stubbornness the Gallaghers refuse to change their haircuts, so too have they resisted the pressure to change their sound. In their case, that's no bad thing. They can't do anything else.

They may still think they're the Beatles reincarnated - they even sample John Lennon on Dig Out Your Soul - but after seven albums, why change? Damon Albarn may be a musical chameleon, but Blur are history. Few could name, let alone sing A Country House, the song they beat Oasis to No 1 in their staged Stones versus Beatles rivalry in 1994. They won the battle, but the mouthy, uncouth Mancunian won the war.

Following on from 2005's Don't Believe the Truth, their best since (What's The Story) Morning Glory?, Oasis mine the same rhythms and lyrics that once made them giants, with less of the cocaine-inspired grandiosity. Liam's song-writing, on I'm Outta Time and Soldier On, can't match the distinction of his vocals, but he offers something refreshingly raw; while Noel's tried-and-tested formula is as hypnotic as ever. The Shock of the Lightning and Waiting for the Rapture are songs that succeed because they aren't burdened with their desire to be important. In the same way, Dig Out Your Soul no longer carries the same weight of expectation Oasis once had to contend with. And it's all the better for it.