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Ween: La Cucaracha

Ween: La Cucaracha

Release Date:2007

By Ed Schrader | Posted 11/7/2007

Worry not disciples, the "brothers" Dean and Gene Ween still got it. On La Cucaracha, their bent energy resonates like a vibrating piñata. It begins with "Fiesta," an ambitiously humble (hardly a contradiction for Ween) instrumental with a vibe somewhere between a circus and Monday Night Football, yet populated by ironic, precise drum fills. It's an appropriate encapsulation of the album, a body of work that, however transgressive and sturdily composed, can laugh at itself.

This humor is often manic and interlaced with dark veneers: a dual perspective. On "Friends"--one of the best on the record--it's proclaimed with Vulcan rigidity that "friends in life are special/ do you want me as your special friend." Vocals sprawl into sterile robotic vines and enfold over immaculate synth pulses, like Strawberry Switchblade making out with an automated male receptionist.

Of course, Ween stays true to the lowbrow. "My Own Bare Hands" is a hilarious no-holds-barred perv blitzkrieg with golden lyrics such as "I'm gonna be your lawn mower and cut your fucking grass" and "she's gonna be my cock professor, studying my dick." Yet this juvenile prose is cut with underlying adult themes: "Object" is a slow, sociopathic ballad about a person reflecting on, and perhaps trying to comprehend, his uninhibited beastly lust for an object that he inevitably destroys and concludes, "you're just an object to me/ you're just a piece of meat and I am the butcher."

La Cucaracha isn't bogged down by its attempt at being eclectic. Rather, the album is only enhanced by its variety of natural and well-placed themes and tones. "The Fruit Man," a reggae jam about a Chinese man selling fresh fish that turns out to be frozen, shares the same bench with "Learnin' to Love," a short ditty that sounds like an acid-induced Creedence B-side--if CCR was fronted by Roger Miller. The disc's cherry, however, is the 10-minute AOR jam "Woman and Man," which opens with bongos and escalates into a whining monster guitar solo that would make Randy Rhoads proud.

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