Oneida : Nice/Splittin’ Peaches

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To the casual observer, the latest release by Oneida would be frustrating and confusing, to say the least. The title, Nice./Splittin’ Peaches, would imply that the EP was merely a two-song release, but it’s actually a four-banger, and what’s more, there’s no song named “Nice” or “Splittin’ Peaches.” There is, however, a song named “Hakuna Matata,” that actually isn’t a cover of that obnoxious tune from The Lion King. And if all of this confusion wasn’t enough, the cover depicts some cartoon dolphins saying the record’s title in little word bubbles. WTF?!

Ah, but some of us have actually heard Oneida, and these details are merely part of the band’s plot to play by their own rules, no matter how ironic or straight-faced, artistic or absurd. Nothing stopped them from putting out a double-disc set of original weird-assed freakouts in 2002 on Each One Teach One, and certainly nothing’s going to stop them from doing what they want to do now. In this case, the thing we won’t be stopping them from doing is releasing an EP with horrible album art, a song title lifted from a Disney production and four rockin’ psychedelic tunes.

Nice./Splittin’ Peaches isn’t as noisy and aberrant as Each One Teach One, but no less taps into that album’s psychedelic, freaky tendencies. First track “Summerland” is a repetitive stoner-rock groove that’s gone all too soon and “Inside My Head” is a krautrock groover that Damo Suzuki would be jealous of. Things are taken to a mellower level on the psych-folk of “Song Y,” but the real kicker is the aforementioned “Hakuna Matata,” a twenty-minute drug jam with backwards-effects vocals and a single-note droning in the background. Think a slightly less messy Comets on Fire and you’re not too far off.

Oneida is a band quite adept at creating enjoyable head-trips in song, with a fair amount of hooks blended in with their heady stew. Don’t be fooled by their deceptive measures of marketing themselves, however. Because no matter how ridiculous they might appear on the surface, Oneida are quite impressive on record.

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