Sunday, August 16, 2009

First Listen: Oneida, Rated O

You know how I love expansive statements. Not only is Rated O the second part in a planned trilogy of albums from this Brooklyn noise-rock outfit, it's a triple album in its own right. Now, granted, it's spread across three discs, but it's not even two hours long. Still, this is an enormous undertaking, and an incredibly strange and entrancing one.

The three discs each emphasize a different side of this band's personality, making Rated O their most complete work. Disc one is noisy dance-rock instrumentals, heavy on the repetition and abrasiveness. Disc two is more rock-oriented, with lyrics and vocals buried beneath waves of sound. This is the most live-sounding of the lot, its three-minute foot-stompers coming the closest to traditional pop.

But it's disc three I like best. This is the soundscape disc, and the band uses these extended running times to explore hypnotic drone-jams. The closing "Folk Wisdom" stretches to 20 minutes, and is my favorite thing here. This is a difficult listen, for the most part, but by the time "Folk Wisdom" rolls around, you'll be used to Oneida's singular musical world, and ready to just get lost in it.

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