Given their status as England’s most notorious and notoriously unabashed Beatles acolytes, it would be fair to read the title of the opening track here — "The Hindu Times" — as some indication that singer Liam and guitarist/songwriter Noel Gallagher have reached the Buddhist-enlightenment phase of their career, thereby paralleling the Beatles’ own well-documented dalliances in Eastern religion and psychedelics in the years before their break-up. But the Brothers Gallagher have never been the pseudo-intellectual art-school types that Lennon and McCartney were — they’re hard-drinking/-drugging blokes who have a special talent for hanging big guitars on bigger hooks in a manner that recalls the Beatles in form only, not content. "The Hindu Times" might as well be some newspaper Noel came across in his travels, because Heathen Chemistry doesn’t mark a spiritual step forward for the band.
But it also doesn’t represent any noticeable step backward in the hooks and melody departments. "Little by Little" ranks as one of the catchiest tunes these guys have come up with in their decade as England’s reigning bad-boy Britpoppers, and even "The Hindu Times" has more than enough hook power to make up for its misleading title. Elsewhere, Noel gets to sing his song, Liam continues to prove that he’s also capable of contributing a tune or two to an Oasis album, and things go on much as they have for the past few Oasis albums. Which is to say that Oasis’s most remarkable talent may be their unwavering endurance when it comes to running in place creatively without growing weary of writing album after album of like-minded material.
(Oasis headline FleetBoston Pavilion this Saturday, August 10. Call 617-228-6000.)