Oasis – Heathen Chemistry (2002): Review


>Produced by Oasis
Label – Big Brother/Epic

By 2002, both Noel and Liam Gallagher knew they had to raise their game somewhat. The gobshite Glummer Twins were better known for their forthright comments on front page gossip columns than any semblance of delivering quality music. Even Noel would admit that “Be Here Now” was bloated, and critics and fans alike were quick to criticize 2000s “Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants” as an uneven affair. The band desperately needed to be somewhere near the creative pinnacle of their debut and sophomore long players and to be fair “Heathen Chemistry” does mark an upturn. The songs on the whole are stronger, and following the internal disharmonies of previous releases, sound less like the Gallagher brothers and more like a record delivered by the five members portrayed on the cover. Both bassist Gem Archer and guitarist Andy Bell contribute songs to the LP, and Liam steps out of his malaise with three songs of varying quality.


“Heathen Chemistry” kicks off with one of their strongest creations in the momentous “Hindu Times”. For what seems like the first time in a while the band recreate the correlation of great riff and addictive feel, reminding the listener of their past glories. Admittedly, there isn’t anything to compete with the majestic opener, but there are some dynamic moments to suggest that the band are fighting their way out of the drabs. Noel’s majestic “Little By Little”, and beefed up ballad, “Stop Crying Your Heart Out”, Liam’s sweet 60s influenced “Songbird” all entertain and revive a lingering hope of further glories. The contributions from Archer (“Hung In A Bad Place”) and Bell’s “A Quick Peep” are acceptable diversions, but are not the reason why you would ultimately purchase this album.

Although not essential, “Heathen Chemistry” is at last a realization that Oasis cannot trade on their legend alone, and they deliver something at least more focused and mostly enjoyable.


Track Listing
1. “The Hindu Times”
2. “Force of Nature”
3. “Hung in a Bad Place”
4. “Stop Crying Your Heart Out
5. “Songbird”
6. “Little by Little”
7. “A Quick Peek”
8. “(Probably) All in the Mind”
9. “She Is Love”
10. “Born on a Different Cloud”
11. “Better Man” (Includes hidden track “The Cage”)

5 responses to “Oasis – Heathen Chemistry (2002): Review

  1. I agree completely that “Heathen chemistry” is not Oasis’s best work but after the previous two records, it was like they were a completely different (and better) band. I think their next album “Don’t believe the truth” was even better and ranks up there with the first two.

    • My relationship with Oasis’ music has always been a complex one, owing to having a younger brother who used to play the hell out of every single record they made, bad or good. You’re right, they did have resurgence for a short while, and creatively they got their collective asses back together. Nothing beats the first two records though IMO.

      • I have a similarly complex relationship with The Smiths. I had a roommate in university that played them as nauseum so I understand.

  2. Unsurprisingly, I agree Geoff!
    Promising start, solid middle but nothing terribly memorable elsewhere.
    Like JP, I prefer DOn’t Believe the Truth, Importance of Being Idle is one of Noel’s best tracks

    • I think it was around this time that Noel realized he needed to start writing some decent songs instead of being just a mouthpiece for the gossip press to bait.

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