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ONEIDA:: Happy New Year (Album Review)

Just when I think I have a band all figured out, everything falls to shit. Look at, say, Gene Simmons. Sexy arena-rock icon, right? Then he goes and covers the Prodigy’s Firestarter and I’m all “Whaahh?!?” Or there’s Ethel Merman, who went from Broadway to disco, and all of a sudden people don’t know up from down. So now Brooklyn’s Oneida open their new album with this totally freaky, dreamy retro Brit-psych thing and I’m all “Neat! Old-sounding!” Then all of a sudden they’re krautrocky and real noisy and things get more dancy for a bit, then there’s a ballad and some traditional-sounding British folk, and it’s all really beautiful when it wants to be and despondent and rocking when it wants to be. So while I’m quite certain they’re intentionally fucking with my head, I don’t mind so much, cuz Happy New Year is unpretentiously unique, challenging and eclectic. (Evan Davies)