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Secret Wars: Oneida’s Battle for Identity

Oneida’s urge to crank the Marshalls to 11 and blow down the garage door has always competed tooth-and-nail with their desire to father the next Tago Mago. While it may be theoretically possible to do both at once, at least on their previous five albums, Oneida have never been able to successfully fuse the two pillars of their sound – fuzzy '60s psychedelia, and noisy krautish experimentalism – into a cohesive whole. On 2002’s double album, Each One Teach One, the Brooklyn-based trio even went so far as to separate the two, putting the record’s two prolonged forays into mind-curdling repetition on one disc, and saving the more conventionally noisy sub-10-minute psych-rock tunes for the other. But on their new LP, Secret Wars, Oneida successfully unite the disparate elements of their music. They channel experimental noise, acid-drenched riffs, and live-show spontaneity into a record of brilliantly crafted nuggets of lysergic rock that is easily their most consistent effort to date.

SPIN Staff |February 10, 2004 - 8:00 am

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