By 2002, the once mighty force that was Oasis had seemingly lost it. The 1990s were well and truly gone, which was their heyday peak, along with the group’s musicality. From the legendary 1996 Knebworth shows onward, Oasis was gradually losing it as a group, culminating in the awful result of the Familiar To Millions live album, which was a total disaster for all involved. The studio album that followed in 2002, Heathen Chemistry was, without a doubt the worst main Oasis album ever made. Despite that, there were some gems, even on that album, given the talent of the Gallagher brothers, notably Noel Gallagher as a songwriter, although Liam Gallagher’s voice was going rapidly downhill at this time. This is the first EP release from Heathen Chemistry, so let’s take a quick look at it.
The Hindu Times begins with a mellotron keyboard and quickly launches into a powerful tune with an Indian style riff lick. Nonetheless, this is great, until Liam Gallagher begins singing. His voice sounds absolutely horrible here, and it almost sounds like a cat being strangled with a load of autotune. Despite that, this is actually a fairly good song to hear, although Oasis’s best days were well and truly behind them at this point. Alan White’s drumming is seemingly non-existent at this point as well, and he was not at his best in this era. All in all, a good song but by no means a great song. The best of the group was in the past by this point, and although this song is about drug use which is a topic that Noel Gallagher writes nicely about, it isn’t the greatest to hear. The guitar solo section makes this a bit better, but all in all, Oasis forgot what made them great in the past by this point. Good tune, but definitely not great. It’s okay, but no Wonderwall. It ends where it starts.
Just Getting Older begins with strummed acoustic guitars and retro-sounding keyboard sounds. This does sound nice and gentle and is a breath of fresh air. A nice and gentle piece, with Noel Gallagher singing here. Obviously, he is a much better singer than his brother Liam Gallagher by this point, whereas the opposite was the case in the pre-Definitely Maybe days. Despite that, this is a very underrated piece of music from Noel, and it paints a rather bleak picture of growing older and losing faith in the things in life. Nonetheless, it’s good but certainly not amazing. It sounds a lot like Coldplay or even proto-Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds present here, which isn’t overly original. By this point, Coldplay was all the rage in guitar based music and Noel was likely influenced by that, both positively and negatively. An okay song, but nothing hugely amazing or memorable here. Okay for what it is. It ends with some more mellotron styled keyboard.
Idlers Dream begins with some pseudo-Classical music styled piano, which is extremely unusual for Oasis to do in a song. It sounds very pretty. Noel Gallagher sings again, and it sounds like he is singing from a place he usually doesn’t cover. His singing evokes a deep amount of emotion, and this piano led ballad sounds passionate and lovely. This is a big step away from the acoustic guitar based format that Oasis regularly follow. Soon enough, some additional Classical music styled sounds enter the second half of the song, adding some extra flavour. This is really great and unique, Noel deserves some extra points present for imagination and variety here. Weird for Oasis, but this does work strikingly well. A nice listen, even if it is just Noel on piano and keyboards. The keyboards swell at the end, finishing off this EP nicely.
This is obviously not a hugely important release. If anything, it shows how Noel Gallagher, by this point, was a much better talent than his brother Liam Gallagher, at least in the singing department. The tunes here are relatively uninspired for the most part. This isn’t a landmark release at all. It points to the patchiness of the Heathen Chemistry material, which was such an ordinary album that even Liam and Noel hate it today. Should you hear it? Only if you are a huge Oasis fan, otherwise, no.
Unenjoyable for the most part.