Album Review

Oneida, Happy New Year (Jagjaguwar)

Brooklyn-based Oneida—a band of nobody knows how many members—have been kicking around for years with a reputation for mind-expanding music, humor and showmanship. Their drums and keyboards have always been their focal point, locking down a groove like a million Silver Apples at once. But where Silver Apples always seemed like very serious experimentation in sound, Oneida give off a wild house-party vibe. With current members like Fat Bobby and Double Rainbow, they've managed to keep the hipster pretension to a minimum. That's not to say they don't dig deep when it comes to influences. Album opener "Distress" could be at home on a comp like Kraut! Demon! Kraut!, with chanted Gregorian-style vocals drowning in drone, and the album is book-ended by similar track "Thank Your Parents." But the rest of the record is classic Oneida. "Up With People" is a particular standout, as Oneida tries to annoy the listener through off-time blips, then yanks him back to a groove every time the lyrics "You gotta get up/to get free" punch in and rockets back to maximum skronk. This could be one of Brooklyn's last gasps as the band's famed studio is being bulldozed to make way for a new shopping development owned by the Mall of America. And we're busy fighting terrorists in Iraq? Happy New Year, indeed.

 
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