ONEIDA NUMBERS AMONG the tiny coterie of contemporary rockers who meld punk and sweet soul without drowning in shtick. If that means they'll never draw like the Make-Up, let alone Jon Spencer, these veterans of Brooklyn's loft-party scene at least have earned the right to look themselves in the mirror after a gig. Given their, er, genre (call it "the Stooges find Amazing Grace") the band still seems obliged to slip in the occasionally cloying shenanigan. On their sophomore album, Enemy Hogs, the musicians bring in the Grace Church Boys' Choir to sing on "Turn it: Up (Loud)," an idea no less rotten when the Stones tried it on Let It Bleed. But Oneida support the device with one of their most sinister keyboard drones--they can always get what they want, dammit--and a tumultuous lead vocal from singer Papa Crazy.
Once you get over hearing a grown man moaning "Ohhhh, turn it up loud" with a group of eunuch-pitched kids, there are less overt surprises in store on Enemy Hogs. A trumpet flips out during "Bombay Fraud," a sentimental vocal melody pops up in the midst of a mess of guitar squeals on "Ginger," and the whole shebang nearly blows its lid with an eight-minute closing jam, "Wicked Servant," which publicists claim was recorded live in Argentina. It fits that the band takes its moniker from a small town in upstate New York where a Utopian community of the same name banned monogamy in the 1850s: In Oneida's little world, every genre is available for a loud coupling.
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