Review: Oneida – Rated O

Tuesday, 1 December, 2009

‘Rated O’ is a 3 x CD album release with around 40 minutes of play on each disc. There are sometimes vocals, some jamming and there is lots of repetition. I do first think of Krautrock and psychedelic rock back from the late 70ies. And compared to other bands of today influenced by the Krautrock genre, Oneida leave it pretty raw and make use of more improvised – or experimental – pieces within the tracks.

The critics have been very dissident. Everybody seems to respect the groups back catalogue. But some like the first CD, and others only like the second or third CD in this ambitious release.

The first CD is a mix of reggaeton, noise and dance rhythms. I’m not that familiar with the sound, but it seems like this raw power tunes gives Oneida a lot of edge and weight. You’ll find a band jamming and playing without direction, but still ending up in a beautiful repetitive part during the “10:30 at the Oasis” (with the help from Trans AM member Phil Manley). Both the opening track “Brownout in Lagos” as well as “The human factor” are primal screams: heavy and alien. I wonder if I ever find myself in all this mess?

The second CD is how Oneida play straight forward rock with a vocal in the drugged chaotic haze. Both “The River” and “I will haunt You” are up-tempo rock songs with reference to the psychedelic seventies. But after two months of listening I’d better make references to Black Sabbath and Stooges. Maybe prog rock indie piece “The Life You Preferred” is favorite track for now.

The third CD is a soundscape of cosmic jamming. Sitar, drums, drones, bells and psych guitar are pulsing and while they are travelling down a moody road, I lose the reference point. I think the influence from Boredoms especially have put its marks on drummer Kid Millions, which comes to expression on this third part of the release. In an interview with the Quitus he tells about the magnificent Boadrum 77 and 88 and meeting Eye getting a more spiritual understanding of being a musician.

Some critics say the record would have been better, if it has fitted one CD and fillers were left out. I must disagree. If I read a book or is watching a movie the highlights alone will not tell the whole story worth remembering.

Last year ‘Preteen Weaponry’ gave me a pleasant surprise. Especially the drumming and repetition seemed steady, lasting and absorbing. What’s going to come next year is not easy to say. But by now having released 10 full albums and several EPs since 1997, the follow up on ‘Rated O’ and last album in the trilogy surely has something to live up to.

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