Oneida – PreTeen Weaponry
Golly mick! Apparently Oneida’s PreTeen Weaponry will ‘lay bare the band’s colossal vision of a new age in music’. This had better be good… oh, wait. I forgot. It’s confession time. Truth be told, this CD has been hanging round my stereo for months, simply because I can’t trust that label’s boast, despite giving the record plenty of spins.
Simply put, the three tracks are in some ways very conventional space rock, albeit space rock of a sluggish variety. First up they’re all just over 10 minutes. Secondly, all the tracks employ the mechanics of free rock; scattering, slightly formless drumming, build ups of white noise and the odd atonal, free-jazz moment just to balance things out. In some ways free rock is a damned difficult genre to pull off, because you have to start somewhere, and more importantly go somewhere more exciting/interesting/blissed-out still, even if you want to keep things at a sedate pace.
And, sadly, I do find the first track on here a bit plodding, as it seems quite happy growling around in a primeval stew of its own making. Fine if you want to set up a groove; or a template that tries to follow Cale/Riley’s Church of Anthrax, say; not so fine if you’re creating something truly out there. Things certainly get more interesting in track two, where blasts of white noise create a very menacing atmosphere (not a million ways away from In a Lonely Place, funnily enough) but really, it’s a long mood piece that can be mentally summed up in the first 4 minutes or so.
Luckily the best track is the last, there’s a bit more wit here and you certainly feel as if there’s more of an attempt to execute something a little less linear. In fact why this sort of fluidity isn’t used as their starting point is a mystery to me. Still, for long drawn-out free-form bliss-outs, I’d keep listening to Ash Ra Tempel’s first LP, Earthling Society, Guru Guru’s UFO, or the Julie Mittens. I’m sorry lads.
Words: Richard Foster