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Oneida / Plastic Crimewave Sound - Prehistoric Maze / End of Cloud

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Artist: Oneida / Plastic Crimewave Sound

Album: Prehistoric Maze / End of Cloud

Label: Brah

Review date: Sep. 7, 2005

Give some rock bands an inch, and they’ll take a mile. Not satisfied with pushing themselves past semi-popularity to the edge of public consciousness (their latest press release trumpets their status as “that old Brooklyn band that all the other bands like”), Oneida have decided to start their own label. Their imprint’s stated mission is to shine a light on their under-recognized colleagues, but they’ve cannily inaugurated it with a vinyl-only (read – potentially collectible) record that is halfway their own.

This split EP features two side-long songs, one by Oneida and another by Chicago’s Plastic Crimewave Sound. “Prehistoric Maze,” the CEOs’ side, is a detour even by their circuitous navigational standards. It’s an unchanging trudge, with ukuleles and lutes stitching an airy stringed quilt over unwavering processional drumbeats. The singing is hard to make out, but easy to place; it sounds like the vocals were recorded when an intense Sun City Girls listening session ended with the declaration “we can sound like tortured cats too!” And they do.

Falsetto singing isn’t on Plastic Crimewave Sound’s agenda. They’ve long used “End Of Cloud” to end concerts, and this recording successfully captured its tension between iron control and chaos. The former comes from the remorseless motorik drumming of one Skog Device and the fuzzy, rhythmic chording of Mr. Crimewave (who, when he isn’t rocking out, is responsible for the splendid psychedelic periodical Galactic Zoo Dossier, which is chock full of hand-lettered interview transcriptions and freaky illustrations just like the ones on this record’s sleeve) and since-departed guitarist Cat Chow. The latter comes from an overlaid swirl of muttered, felicitously incomprehensible singing (if this record is anything to go by, Brah won’t be wasting a lot of money printing lyric sheets) and sputtering, sparking synths. The formula isn’t exactly original, but it sure is effective, and PCS wield it with the practiced ease of rodeo clowns skilled enough to rope an angry bull whilst pulling faces from the underside of a cranky nag. Time to stick out your neck.

By Bill Meyer

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