During its longest period between albums, Ween has taken one hit after another: Touring drummer Claude Coleman survived a near-fatal car accident; the band got more attention for a commissioned-but-never-aired Pizza Hut jingle called "Where'd the Cheese Go?" than for releasing any of its backlogged collectibles; and the group split from Elektra.
Amputation has never been so liberating. Dean and Gene Ween may not be feeling like worldbeaters lately, but they've just issued what's arguably their best album: Quebec, a long-player as psychedelically adventurous as the Beatles' White Album, as warm and hopeless as any of Syd Barrett's cockeyed, pastoral musings, and more American-sounding than anything released by the Band and the Grateful Dead combined. "It's Gonna Be a Long Night" storms out of the gates Lemmy-style, in praise of black-and-blue oblivion, only to shift 180 degrees for the soothing track that follows -- an ode to "Zoloft." Having mastered every conceivable permutation of the musical spectrum this side of the Gregorian chant, Ween reins in its snarkier tendencies for a goof on shut-ins ("So Many People in the Neighborhood") and updates The Pod's 1991 "Awesome Sound" with three minutes' worth of funny and deliberately irritating start/stop instrumental Weenness ("The F**ked Jam"). More independent now than the namesake province of its eighth album, Ween still astounds.
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