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It might seem like an insult to say that Oneida’s new Secret Wars sounds like the soundtrack to a bad dream—say, the kind of cold-sweat nightmare brought by an intense fever. Self-proclaimed purveyor of “damaged rock,” the Brooklyn-based trio bills itself as specializing in “anxiety, dislocation, alienation and half-formed terror.” What that translates to musically is a demented amalgam of New York noise, structure-defying postrock, and evil psychedelia that often sounds as much like performance art as anything related to traditional rock. It certainly doesn’t make for easy listening: “Capt. Bo Dignifies the Allegations With a Response,” for example, driven by a repetitive, creepily chirping keyboard, superfuzzed bass, and panicky yelping, has the neurosis-inducing effect of flying though wicked turbulence or slamming a quart of coffee on an empty stomach. Similarly, the repeated sledgehammering of jangly minor-key guitar chords in the linear “The Winter Shaker” conjures a sense of creeping dread—one enhanced by such characteristically oblique, semichanted lyrics as “Sexless and single is no crime” and “No more struggle for daily bread/No more wishing we were dead.” But for all the unease it creates, Oneida’s madness is not altogether unpleasant. For one thing, the cryptically named threesome of Hanoi Jane, Fat Bobby, and Kid Millions plays together with a hermetic discipline, demonstrated best on Secret Wars by the irregular syncopation and start-stop bass line of “Caesar’s Column.” And for all its weirdness, at times Oneida reveals a real knack for catchy, traditional songwriting: “Wild Horses,” the closest thing on here to a single, sounds like Sebadoh covering Black Sabbath. And the 14-minute instrumental album-closer, “Changes in the City,” which gradually builds frenzied guitar leads over a slow, ominous bass line, somehow manages to be graceful, even soothing. Still, like a nightmare, Secret Wars amounts to something of an ordeal—one you’ll be turning over in your mind long after it’s over. —Michael Crowley