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There's Some A-Material in Oasis' 'Masterplan' B-Sides

*** OASIS "The Masterplan"; Epic

November 02, 1998|Robert Hilburn

Warfare between the Gallagher brothers and inconsistent live shows may have left Oasis with a severely bruised reputation in this country. But the band still makes marvelous music--as demonstrated by what is really little more than a career dividend: a collection of B-sides that have never been released on an album in this country.

With many bands, that description would be the equivalent of a warning sticker--lots of B-sides of singles over the years have been simply filler.

As with U2, however, Oasis doesn't coast when it goes into the studio to record a second track for a single. Though some of the material here sounds understandably dated, virtually all the tunes on "The Masterplan" (which is due in stores on Tuesday) are appealing enough to have deserved a spot on one of Oasis' regular albums, and the best rank with the group's finest moments.

The latter include the vigorous "Acquiesce" and the melancholy "Talk Tonight," both of which should be familiar to those who have seen Oasis live.

The standout is the title track, a warmly philosophical song that conveys the group's winning sense of optimism and songwriter Noel Gallagher's usual strong melodic flair. And, the Beatles-loving Gallaghers even get around to finally putting a Beatles song on an album: a live version of "I Am the Walrus."

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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