Oneida deconstructs the Empty Bottle. - Oh My Rockness

Band We Like

Oneida deconstructs the Empty Bottle.

August 11, 2008
Oneida is one part band, one part Mr. Wizard, one part MacGyver, and four parts sucky. Psych (sic)!

The fearsome Brooklyn threesome creates original sounds via the compositional talents of Fat Bobby, Kid Millions, and Baby Jane. The reading of the members' names is enough to know exactly what you're getting yourself into when you go to an Oneida show. There's nothing normal about this band, which is good because "normal" really means "lame" and "boring" and, well, almost always not worth the time.

This band already has a classic album to their credit. When recording The Wedding a few years back, Oneida took it upon themselves to construct a behemoth music box (Mr. Wizard) made from plywood, random nails and spikes, and the scattered motor parts (MacGyver) found in and around their own recording studio (Rules). The end result was exactly what the band set out to accomplish; music that sounded like no one else's.

If a reference point is absolutely necessary for Oneida's thing, I guess you could compare them to The Beach Boys at Brian Wilson's trippiest, or what Black Mountain has been doing lately. But even those somewhat safe comparison will probably lead you far astray...

Oneida are one of the strongest bands of an unclassifiable genre. If that doesn't make much sense, well, often neither does Oneida. They aren't on the up-and-up with you. They'll synth you before spazzing you. They'll psych you up only to kraut-rock you down. They're art-rock like Liars but then switch mid-note to the sonic booms of Can. You think you're following along to the lyrics, and making sense of them, until you slowly realize that you have absolutely no idea. It's kind of funny actually. It's as if Oneida chooses their musical path by referring to their very own custom-made musical choose-your-own-adventure book.

You have to put in the time and energy to even attempt to figure what Oneida are all about. But often trying to solve their musical puzzle will only lead to more questions. Treading the fine line of experimentally interesting and just plain frustrating, the riddle that is Oneida won't be solved anytime soon. And that's exactly what you want. Bands you immediately "get" wear out fast. Those that make you struggle are the ones with staying power.


Oneida plays The Empty Bottle, on Saturday, August 16th.


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