Brooklyn’s noise rockers Oneida revel in not being able to be pinned down to a definition. They also are enormously motivated, as their newest offering, the triple album Rated O, can attest. While they have been classified as psych rock or krautrock, the influences on Rated O are wide ranging. The record gets started with a clear nod to Nigerian Disco Funk with “Brownout in Lagos,” and goes on to resemble the soundtrack to the soundtrack for a videogame from a dystopian future on “10:30 at the Oasis.”
The record captures Oneida’s hypnotic noisiness with plenty of loops, guitar hum, and feedback melodies. It also features bursts of vocals, though the function more as a layer of noise and atmosphere than singing, especially on “What’s Up Jackal” and “The Human Factor.” The band also reminds listeners they still know how to write a rock song on “I Will Haunt You.” Tracks on the album are long. About a third of them clock in at over ten minutes, and the epic feeling “Folk Wisdom” over 20, but it adds to the hypnotic nature, with one song displaying enough moods for an entire album, yet also carefully building on established melodies and themes.
Oneida certainly are not for the casual listener and Rated O’s triple album length requires commitment. However, the rewards for sticking around are great. Many bands set out to make multi-layered, atmospheric albums that show off their chops, but few succeed as well as Oneida.