These days Oneida sounds a lot closer to some obscure Italian prog rock band than Brooklyn cock rock/no wave. In terms of genre switching and psychedelic mind-warping, ?The Wedding? may just be their most satisfying album to date, especially if such satisfaction is measured in diversity. Largely scaled back are the epic two note blitzkriegs and molten meltdowns for sake of fierce synth punk blasts (familiar) and more ethereal art rock enigmas (less familiar).
Virtually all aspects of what?s made Oneida one of the coolest hard psych bands around are still here: fearless ambition, dynamic arrangements, blistering fuzztones, no wave organ blurts and bleeps, proto metal heaviness, undeniable pop smarts. Opener ?The Eiger? sounds like a bunch of stoners from Brooklyn mocking later Beatles and doing it very well. ?Lavender? is more typical with chilly synth lines and stomping percussive crashes, but it?s the aptly titled ?Spirits? that really starts to sink in the hooks with its multipart harmonies and baked fuzz guitars. ?Run Through My Hair? is even better with minor key, ethnic guitar lines, well placed fuzz trills and a minimal percussive push weaving the kind of magic Can used to conjure regularly in the early 70s. Of course, Kid Millions is no Jaki Leibizeit, and he?s not really trying to be. His plaintive beats are closer to a live take on the minimal programming of early Suicide. When the band clearly breaks through with a wandering solo of alien piano (very Irmin Shmidt!) over the hypnotic groove, it?s apparent they?re operating at the height of their powers and beyond.
One of my favorite Oneida tracks ever can be found in ?High Life.? It opens with ampbuzz and video game synth dots pulsating into the most infectious ode to fleeting love (lust) and indulgence to be compressed into 2 mins, 20 seconds. The way it surges from geeky sing-song to sheer noise pop catharsis--with swooning strings backing crunchy power chords by the finale--is a genuine treat to behold.
?Did I Die,? on the other hand, sounds like brain-damaged early Kiss (a friend insists AC/DC), while the towering rhythmic throb of ?The Beginning is Nigh? is massive apocalyptic stomper that comes off like Rocket From the Tombs covering Amon D??l II--or something ridiculous like that. I challenge anyone to listen to this at extreme volumes while driving a car (if you own a car) and stay in his/her lane. It?s that kind of song that takes over the body and results in all manner of interpretive flailing. Good shit.
?The Wedding? may not be on par with the Stooges, ?Funhouse [Deluxe Edition],? but Oneida comes closer to such feral catharsis than most rawk bands in 2005 could ever dream. That this album emphasizes their more ethereal side, along with the expected charging stompers, merely demands a firmer appreciation for Oneida?s fierce blend of art pop/punk and genre busting experimentation. 8/10 -- Lee Jackson (5 September, 2005)