Oneida's Secret Wars is a Pacific summerjam. It's got Balinese gongs, Hawaiian ukuleles, red wine, injuries, glee, and a song called "Wild Horses" that's written by Oneida. It's also got a lot of good advice.
We would like to say that with their new full-length record, Brooklyn sons Oneida simply start where they left off with Each One Teach One, their highly acclaimed and soon to be classic double CD and LP that came out last year. (Jon Pareles of the New York Times dubbed it a top ten pick and Mojo called it an essential underground record. Numerous other critical plaudits helped catapult the record to its current "best-selling-of-all-time" status among all Jagjaguwar releases.) But these purveyors of righteous noise and indignation never stopped in the first place. Almost immediately after wrapping up Each One Teach One, they collaborated with the Liars on a split EP, continued their work on the score to Speedo (a documentary about Long Island and New Jersey's demolition derby circuit that is just being completed), and began conceptualizing what we trust will become a baroque pop masterpiece to come out next year, all along touring both Europe and the United States.
In the meantime, they also created Secret Wars. And here is what we can say about it. Secret Wars happens to be the first Oneida release that they didn't make entirely themselves or with the able assistance of Peter Katis at Tarquin Studios. Their trademark iterated and psych-tinged noise attack is still fully intact, both nervous and subdued at the same time - like what happens when you give meditative children trained in the ways of yoga an excessive amount of caffeine. If there are any new wrinkles to be discovered, it is perhaps that, even more so than on Each One Teach One (Oneida's Tago Mago), Oneida seem to be mining the same fertile ground as Kraut-rock visionaries Can, effortlessly shedding the constraints of pop forms and structures while still remaining soulful and spiritually centered all along. Like spazzing out in the Lotus position.
Side one (tracks 1 through 5 on the CD) was recorded and mixed at the Rare Book Room with Nicolas Vernhes, who recorded the most recent albums by Black Dice, Ted Leo, Fischerspooner, amongst others. Side two (tracks 6 through 8 on the CD) was recorded by Oneida at the Travel Agency, and mixed by Barry London in Barry's Sweltering Attic. Renowned rock poster artist (and Oneida album art designer) Kayrock plays gongs on "Caesar's Column."