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Ween - Quebec

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Artist: Ween

Album: Quebec

Label: Sanctuary

Review date: Aug. 13, 2003

Timeless Tomfoolery

Ween has been at it for nearly 20 years now, which brings up the question: exactly how old are Gene and Dean? To the virgin listener, Quebec sounds like musically proficent teenagers on Flexerol. The "brothers" Ween (Mickey Melchiondo and Aaron Freeman) are actually well into their mid-30s and their penchant for juvenile, irreverent lyrics and the Alan Parsons Project is still in full force. But before we get ahead of ourselves, the duo have picked a new band to goof on – Motorhead. The opener – and no one opens an album quite like Ween – aptly titled "It's Gonna Be A Long Night" is one of their funniest and best excursions. With lyrics like "You bring the razor blades, I'll bring the speed," there's some mind-bending fun to be had. From here on out, you best strap yourself in for a glorious and preposterous journey.

While the lyics are at times heartfelt, they mostly lean toward the ludicrous. "Chocolate Town", which is most likely a song about anal sex, becomes very touching upon repeated listenings. In an ideal world, the second track, "Zoloft," would be played in a commercial for Zoloft; one of the best songs that Alan Parsons never wrote. "Transdermal Celebration", which seems to be one of the most cosmic and majestic songs Ween’s ever recorded, at least since "Buckingham Green" from The Mollusk.

Ween has always perfectly crafted their albums’ instrumentation. From their earlier, more immature efforts GodWeenSatan and The Pod to the polished recordings of Chocolate and Cheese and 12 Golden Country Greats, there is no question that the one aspect Gene and Dean take seriously is the music behind the nonsense. Such polished endeavors as the dandy "Hey There Fancypants" and the earnest "Tried and True" show off their combined methods of goofy and slick. Thanks to long time producer, collaborator and great bassist Andrew Weiss, Quebec continues the string of choice production.

You can't talk great lengths about Ween without recognizing their command of the psych/prog language. "The Argus" would have fit nicely on Genesis' 1968 debut, which serves nicely as a blueprint for the Ween’s numerous cheesy sad songs. I defy any avid Pink Floyd fan who can't sink deep into their couch and stare at their felt Dark Side of the Moon black light poster while listening to "Captain". Those same folks should listen for the Syd Barrent overtones on "Alcan Road."

Obviously, this album is not for everybody, something Elektra must have sensed when they decided against releasing it. It’s just as well – I don't think Ween has any intention of gaining legions of fans. They know their cult following and know how to appease them – fly their freak flag and continue to have fun. I mean, Captain Beefheart never gave up because he couldn’t headline stadium gigs.

By Chris Horn

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