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Album Review

Oneida – “Happy New Year ” – [Jagjaguwar]

Thurston Hunger   7/13/2006   12-inch, A Library

A fine little corker, bristling with energy, a “Busy Little
Bee” indeed as Bobby Matador sings on the “B” side (what
else?). It gets a little stately at a time or two, as on the
death march dry drums of “You Can Never Tell” while bowed
and sprung strings collide in their shadow. A lot of keys
and sometimes Bobby’s vocals sliced and com ing thr ough
in w a ve s, but still the tracks spin quick like a
zoetrope, so motion is the main emotion here. Choice
tones applied, middle eastern spices, no wave flavors,
the lead-off track “Distress” feels like a pinch of
Parsley, Sage, Simon and Garfunkel to me. Choreographed
wino dub over piano on “Thank Your Parents.” That has some
sweet harmonies too; overall the vocals are up front and
have a relaxed confidence that goes well with the downright
accessibility of this fine release. That may come from
stretching repetition on several numbers, but often draping
little runs, and fuse flitting signals on top. As for the
title, this album is exceptional enough to exist out of
time, so it is and always will be “Happy New Year”. Enjoy
the pop pleasure and aura of celebration found here.
-Thurston Hunger

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