Release Date: Jul 7, 2009
Record label: Jagjaguwar
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Even three decades beyond the punk era, there's still a lingering urge to scoff at the supposed bloat and indulgence of the double album. Concision is often held as a virtue for many modern indie bands, and, let's face it, there are scant few double albums in rock that really have the ideas and vision to sustain their runtime. Save for prolific geniuses like Frank Zappa or Prince, the even-rarer triple album is more common for weighty anthologies, or documenting the live shows of acts with drooling fan bases, from the Grateful Dead to Pearl Jam.
Oneida's sprawling three-disc opus is full of meandering, menacing, genre-spanning gems. Disc one channels noise rock, disc two an ominous indie vibe, and disc three astral-projection psychedelia courtesy of two tracks that are 13 and 20 minutes long. [rssbreak] From the hard-charging, distorted epic The River to the Beta Bandesque Luxury Travel (an exercise in hazy experimentalism), Rated O shows what Oneida are capable of.
The 10th album by these noise-crazed Brooklyn artrock mainstays contains an hour or so of blazingly, brilliantly strange rock'n'roll – all primitivist/futurist ri?ng, high-altar psychedelia and genuinely novel sounds conjured from ancient analogue equipment. Problem is, Rated O is – no joke – 108 minutes long, and there are bits of it that just sound like someone screaming at a buzzing strip light. As it is a triple album, itself part of a trilogy of albums, it inevitably sees Oneida's traditionally uncompromising approach to song length and repetition run wild.
You gotta love the fact that the new TRIPLE album from long-serving rhythm-centric psychonauts Oneida is merely the second part of their triptych Thank Your Parents (puh-leeze let the next one be a quintuple-disc affair…). Ignoring the possible warnings that are the ‘organic versus synthetic’ rhetoric, and the Roger Dean-takes-up-collage artwork, the only thing you really need to know about Rated O is that this is heads down groove-based RAWK. The massive scale of Oneida’s undertaking forces you to experience this as a journey, even if you make yourself a single-disc compilation, or just hear one of the songs passing the seven-minute mark.
The Oneida Community was founded by pastor and theologian John Humphrey Noise in 1848 in what is now Oneida, New York. The community was based around his idea of “Complex Marriage”, which did not allow anyone to be monogamous. Anyone could get on anyone else at any time, even if both people had other life mates. The key was that the males had to be trained not to ejaculate at all, a trick that took many years of self training to master.
The wonderful thing about a band like Oneida is that they’re damn-near impossible to classify. Unfortunately, this is also their greatest weakness. Since 1997, this group of heavy-rocking Brooklynites have been delivering their own unique brand of stoner-rock to the masses, jumping around from genre-to-genre just because they can (Krautrock? Why not!), no two records ever sounding the same.