Oneida
Each One Teach One 2xCD - Jagjaguwar

Hold on! Don’t take another sip of that beer. Put down that joint. Take your nose off the mirror. Save every brain cell you have, you’re going to want to conserve them in order to have them melted away by Oneida. ¶ I’m beginning to see a pattern. It looks to me like every twenty years or so a band comes along and ups the ante of psychedelic music. In the Sixties, Syd Barret-era Pink Floyd and The 13th Floor Elevators were two bands that took mind-expanding drugs and explored the inward possibilities of music. And in the process pushed the limits of aural freedom. The Eighties saw the drug-crazed, acid-gobbling, bad trip that was the Butthole Surfers. Sometimes more confusing and frightening than their predecessors’ journey for enlightenment - the band pushed the fader a bit further into the realm of the unknown. At the time of each band’s creative apexes they were criminally ignored (Floyd didn’t gain much notoriety until Barret cracked up and left and was replaced and, let’s face it, the Butthole’s “Pepper” is nowhere near “Creep In The Cellar”). Years later the group’s influences are undeniable. In the next mile marker in psychedelia the world sees the emergence of Oneida. ¶ 2001 was a criminal year for the Brooklyn psych outfit. The group released one of the finest records of the year, Anthem Of the Moon, to little popular notice. The record was a medicinal swirl of electric psych and tight pop riffage fed through the laser light show in your head. The band’s latest, Each One Teach One, was originally a tour-only vinyl release; now the band is releasing it to the public on disc. For this outing the group has put on its thinking caps and taken even larger handfuls of its favorite narcotics. With every album Oneida seems to be forming itself into one of the finest psych rock bands of all time and one of the most challenging rock bands of the present. ¶ It seems clear that the group has taken cues from its predecessors: the exploratory avant-garde of the Sixties with the crazed antics of the Eighties. The band walks a thin, tie-dyed line between the two, occasionally dipping more into one than the other, but always returning home. ¶ The first disc is a two-song freak fest. The first track, “Sheets of Easter,” could be a shout out to the 13th Floor Elevators in title, but is a hallucinogenic spiral of repetitious guitar, organ, rhythm and the word “Light.” Along the way of this opus, the band explores the nuances that can lurk in repetition. Subtle changes lead to major overhauls and bruised psyches. The second track of disc one is “Antibiotics” a similarly hammering of psych rock that blossoms into an acid-drenched pastoral. These two tracks kick the band’s use of hot rodded vintage organs into a realm of brutal. ¶ The second disc contains more traditional songs (traditional for Oneida, at least) and less pummeling jam material. This record is a good representation of two distinct roads the band explores, complete with all of the pharmaceutical exits and shroom-induced roadside attractions. ¶ Tunes like “Black Chamber” and “Each One Teach One” showcase the band’s ability to craft a catchy song amongst mushroom clouds of insane organ lines and guitars attached to innumerable amounts of effects pedals. Several of these tunes emphasize the band’s ability to create untouched soundscapes and structures and even restructuring Anthem’s “People of the North” into a more focused yet colorful attack. ¶ Oneida’s herk-a-jerky-delic style is proof positive that the band is one of today’s most challenging. Balancing its psychedelic forefathers like the guy who tells you taking shrooms and acid will “even” you out. The group also clasps the rickety glee of early Flaming Lips and the uncompromising auditory challenge of records like the second disc of Zappa’s Freak Out!. Tune in, drop out and crank up Oneida; you won’t even need any brown acid, I promise. (Pat Wensink)
www.jagjaguwar.com

 

 


©2004 Skyscraper Magazine.
All material is the property of Skyscraper Magazine and may not be reprinted, copied, or redistributed without the expressed written consent of the editors.
Site by: Joshua R. Jones