With new Oasis flick Supersonic currently taking us back to marvel at the mayhem of mid-’90s Britpop, this re-issue of the band’s third album couldn’t come at a more apt and inspirational time. At the time of its creation, Oasis were experiencing mammoth tabloid shit-storms, wayward band members and partying so hard at Supernova Heights (and beyond) they were temporarily banned from Abbey Road while recording ‘Be Here Now’.
Following up two of the greatest records of the ’90s is no easy task, but at the time it seemed Noel possessed the superhuman ability to toss away B-sides better than most bands can muster in their careers. The signs ‘Be Here Now’ would sound huge were all there at the end of extraordinary B-side ‘The Masterplan’, its outro and colossal string section signalling a new dawn for Oasis MKIII.
So when ‘Be Here Now’ did finally arrive, the public thirst for more Oasis couldn’t have been greater (yours truly queued outside Woolworths rocking a Parka jacket to bag a copy, along with everyone else of similar attire, thanks to Liam).
And so it begins, the slow-burning Tannoy crackles and chopper whirls of ‘D’yer Know What I Mean?’ – over-long for sure, but still excites to this day. As with Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ and Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Chinese Democracy’, there was so much surrounding ‘Be Here Now’, it almost felt like people forgot this was merely a 12-track album. But can you imagine an Oasis set without the swirling Beatles homage ‘All Around The World’, ‘Stand By Me’ or the bruised beauty of ‘Don’t Go Away’? Us neither. It’s a bombastic, overblown and perhaps over-produced album, but it’s also what makes ‘Be Here Now’ great. Tracks like ‘I Hope I Think I Know’ still sound timeless, Noel’s squealing guitar lines skyrocketing, and you can almost hear producer Owen Morris’ eardrums exploding.
Loaded with fan-focused extras, this three-disc box set comes with all the extra demos, B-sides and alternate versions you could ever need (Disk two’s ‘(I Got) The Fever’ and the remastered ‘Flashbax’ are especially great). If anything, it’s a timely reminder of just how many tunes Oasis had at their disposal. A salute, then, to great times gone by, and – coupled with the Supersonic documentary – most fans will be hoping for more to come.
Words: Clarke Geddes
– – –
– – –