Release Date: Jul 11, 2006
Record label: Jagjaguwar
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Reflecting the cyclical nature of earth and life itself, Oneida's eighth full-length album, Happy New Year, presents ideas of death and rebirth, and the continuity, and yet tenuousness, of existence. It's a poetic work of circling guitars and melodic phrases and vocal lines repeating and layered like monastic chants. The opener, "Distress," is comprised of a four-line phrase about the fleeting nature of beauty ("So fades the lovely blooming flower/Frail, smiling solace of an hour/So soon our transient comfort flies/And pleasure only blooms to die"), with modal harmonies and haunting, sparse background music, while the dark musings of "The Misfit" explore the notion of evil and perfidiousness, referencing perhaps the character in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
It is wholly fitting that Oneida starts their latest offering with “Distress,” a fucked up, faux-Gregorian Chant surrounding by electronic burbles and a slightly misplaced martial drum-beat. In recent times, their sound has gone through so many permutations that it’s almost, almost gotten hard to tell what to expect from them. They defined their formula in the dual bombasts of Each One Teach One and Secret Wars - the merging of post-krautrock grooves with a relentless sense of repetition and the willingness to eschew (or not) melodies in favor of bludgeoning you into submission.