| ||Andrew, I agree with a large part of your review, though I completely disagree with the other (my maths probably won't work out perfectly here, but never mind). I am as frustrated as you seem to be at Oneida's lack of greater public presence - I have lent friends several of their albums and they are amazed that they are all from the same band, and have instantly fallen in love with them, but that's besides the point.
I agree that they have had no 'instant hit' sounding tune, but then this is not the purpose of this band - or hasn't been up until Happy New Year and The Wedding. Few bands can stick a couple of repetitive 10 minute-plus songs on an album and get universal praise, least of all tracks line Sheets Of Easter or Changes In The City - though to me, these are mantras to be revered.
The Wedding did make my end of year list last year, and Each One Teach One made my end of year list in 2002, so if people listened to me as I repeatedly DEMAND them to then we'd be alright. Alas, most end of years lists that people read are in industry sponsored publications and we all know the populist, rehashed dross they are obliged to feature.
You say that Oneida seem to be more of an academic tribute group to the 60's acid-pop experience, but I really don't get that from them at all. What I hear is a band that, yes, is heavily indebted to it's past - one that it is fully aware of - yet is buzzing with progressive energy and ideas, but chooses to flatten them out into lengthy strung out epics over a couple of discs or few albums/split eps than have the patience to condense them down into one shapeshifting album (kind of like Dungen's Ta Det Lugnt). I hear a band that may not be pushing the experimental boundary out further, but they are certainly surfing on the edge of, hanging ten, jumping tricks and giving themselves over to the experience while they're there. Possibly this is a little self indulgent of them, but the measure with which the songs on HNY and The Wedding have been crafted suggest that they are keeping everything in tighter, and allowing more ideas to permeate each song. It may be naivety that keeps me hearing the brains working away behind each track, but in no way does this album sound dry or studious to me at all: I hear dreamy effervescent paisley acoustics, a savage yet controlled chaos tempered by some great harmonious vocals that give a great depth to the sound and a range to the album that I find it hard to take it to task for accurate referencing of it's peers.
I realise that you mention this as faint criticism, but I just thought I'd challenge it - Give the masses something to get involved in, eh? Then maybe once they're in, Oneida will have them.
July - Month 7, Happy New Year? Makes no sense at all. That's Oneida for you.
| ||It's interesting that most of the reviews I have read concerning this record/band have stressed the "slept on" aspect. I am also a big fan, and have labored over misguided and just plain bad reviews of Oneida records for years. I am glad that they have at least ascended to the critical darling status, as dubious a position as that is. I am not going to discuss whether this is their best album, what I like about it etc. Every Oneida record has it's treats and are fairly consistent though pretty varied. I'd probably suggest starting with Anthem of the Moon or Secret Wars, but have to fight the urge to throw people right into "Sheets of Easter" off of Each One Teach One. I have to say that the rhythm section has always crushed in Oneida, and the vocals have always served as a layer of the music for the most part, so these applauses and criticisms to me are just filling space in this review, but paint a pretty accurate picture. If you really want to "get" Oneida, though, you've got to see them live. Papa was a big part of what made Oneida one of the best live bands on the planet for a while there, but they recovered nicely and are of course now bolstered by Phil Manley of Trans Am (another great live band). I haven't gotten to see them in this line-up yet, but if you have a chance GO. The whole idea of the indie/underground masses getting on board and elevating Oneida to the status they deserve is never gonna happen. They just don't traffic in the typical sheepishness and every-person antics of most nice indie bands (though it isn't reactionary, they just know that a rock concert should aim for transcendance, not adequacy (sp?)). They grind up the typical indie excuse for a concert any day of the week. The records are good/great, but Oneida live is a juggernaut. Plus they have fucking fun and want you to as well. Funny fucking dudes. Other criminally slept-on Jagjaguwar bands: Manishevitz and Parker Paul, neither of which are still on the label. Somebody please put out Manishevitz' next record. I have heard some songs and can tell you that it will be one of the best records of whatever year it gets put out in.|