Oneida | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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There's more than a touch of Krautrock hypnosis in the huge, ultrarepetitive riffs and rhythmic patterns banged out by Oneida, but the Brooklyn trio also goes beyond the minimalism of Neu! and early Kraftwerk. Their forthcoming album, Secret Wars (Jagjaguwar), artfully balances speaker-shredding bombast and lean precision, complicated by a variety of catalytic elements--a whiff of ethereal melody or an extroverted, overdriven organ solo. They've been finding new ways to oscillate between calm and chaos since they formed in the late 90s, and the results are getting better with each release. The manic drumming and rigid staccato stabs of organ on "Capt. Bo Dignifies the Allegations With a Response" would become irritatingly twitchy were it not for a low-flying drone that lends the track a center of gravity. With "Wild Horses" Oneida takes a sure-handed stab at classic rock, embellishing a sunbaked melody with Neil Young-like riffing and soloing--though the tightly wound drum groove and deliberately thinned-out low end keep things from sounding too comfortably familiar. "The Winter Shaker" emulates the orchestral pyrotechnics of a Glenn Branca symphony, except it uses only one relentlessly chiming electric guitar, which cascades over monolithic drumming. The epic closer, "Changes in the City," cycles the same simple lick over and over for nearly 14 minutes, accruing new tension and density with each iteration. As with most of the trio's songs, there's no conventional resolution. Oneida is all about tension and release, imparting a redemptive effect to every extended silence or surging power chord. Ted Leo/Pharmacists headline; the Furious Fits and Kristin Forbes open. Tuesday, November 11, 8 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tobin.

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