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Thursday, August 20, 1998 Published at 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK


(What's the story) fading glory?

The bright lights have dimmed for Oasis

Exactly this time last year it all looked so different for Oasis.

In typically bombastic style, the Gallagher brothers were telling all who would listen that they were THE greatest band in the world, no questions asked.

With their keenly-awaited third album, Be Here Now, hot off the presses on August 21, Liam and Noel were on the doorstep of rock legend status - and no-one was about to turn them away.

Least of all the media who, spurred on by the silly season and Oasis's indomitable hype machine, gladly played along.

[ image: Be Here Now
Be Here Now "dropped like a bad smell" said Noel
Then, slowly but surely, it all started to come undone for the cock-sure quintet. One year down the line and you might well ask: "What was all the fuss about?"

"Is this the best album ever?" cried the Daily Express, a week before the release of Be Here Now. The resounding answer was "No".

While respectable, the album's worldwide sales of 6.7 million pale in comparison to the 12.3 million copies sold of their second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?

In America, which is key territory for any band seeking mega stardom, Be Here Now all but flopped. It shifted just over one million copies, compared to 3.6 million of the previous album.

[ image:  ]
To their credit, the group have faced up to the relative failure. After first storming the UK charts, guitarist and songwriter Noel Gallagher said the album had "dropped like a bad smell".

In the eyes of pop commentator Rick Sky, Be Here Now simply did not cut the creative mustard.

And, while it was certainly derivative, those ceaseless comparisons with the Beatles, just leave a bad taste.

"I've always compared Oasis to Slade rather than the Beatles because their music is like booming football chants. They don't have the creativity, the orchestration or the futurism of the Beatles," Mr Sky told BBC News Online.

If its innovation you're looking for, Oasis's one-time Britpop rivals Blur are far more worthy contenders, says Mr Sky.

[ image: Comparisons with the Beatles are common...]
Comparisons with the Beatles are common...
New Musical Express journalist Jody Thompson was similarly underwhelmed by last year's offering.

"I didn't buy it and I have the other two albums. It struck me as lazy and Noel didn't put enough thought into the songwriting," she says.

"It's been making more of an appearance in the second-hand shops than their other two."

There have been glimpses of a more innovative approach from Noel, most notably with his dance track Teohaucan, which features on the soundtrack of the new X-Files movie.

But Mr Sky doesn't foresee a solo career for the older Gallagher brother. "He doesn't strike me as a very solo person," he says. Although Noel is by far the most talented member, the band's finely honed image as rock's sexy, swaggering scoundrels is too good to throw away.

[ image: ...but Rick Sky says they sound more like Slade]
...but Rick Sky says they sound more like Slade
Unfortunately, it's not an image that the Americans warm to as much as the British.

"When they started bad-mouthing the Americans it became a problem. In the US you have to be prepared to 'kiss ass' to get on," says Mr Sky.

Despite the persistent rumours of a split, he is convinced Oasis will survive into the next millennium. Their only dilemma is which direction to take.

"I think they are worried about remaining the biggest band in the world. But even the Beatles were worried about whether their new single would sell as well as their last."

In the meantime fans of the band must make do with more of the same. While the lads take an open ended break, their record company, Creation, plans to keep the bandwagon rolling with a compilation of their B-sides which is due for November release.

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