Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Happy New Year

The autumnal tones that usher in Oneida’s Happy New Year are a dead ringer for the murky reflection of “Scarborough Fair” from Simon & Garfunkel’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. But as Happy New Year’s opening number, “Distress” sours and warbles with each melodic cycle its plain to see that this is no celebration of the spices of life. Rather, Happy New Year is a heavy hearted journey into existential hopelessness. “The Adversary” and “Up with People” rock with truly uplifting rhythms, eschewing the themes of maximum entropy that underscre this recording.

Indeed there is a heavy dose of psychic baggage oozing through each and every note in songs, like “Pointing Fingers” and “Busy Little Bee,” but not enough to make this record a total downer. After releasing so many records and trying on new hats with each go-around, there’s naturally going to be a sense of vacancy looming overhead. Many a critic has labeled Oneida as being some sort of MC5 prodigy by way of massive pelvic riffs sewn on to mystical space jazz theories… Sure, that may be true if you’ve only given an album like Each One Teach One an arbitrary listen because some dumb ass at Pitchfork guffawed over it. But that kind of media virus does a great disservice to Oneida’s truly adventurous and experimental personality.

“Thank Your Parents” trolls the depths of emotional hang-ups, sinking deeper into the weight of spiritual burdens. Each song hums and jitters with micro grooves that cut through the daily grind. This is not an album that rages against the dying of a light, but captures the sounds of a soul that has already been crushed.

--Chad Radford