Angry whiners are rewarded in pop music, while those with wit are forever consigned to the novelty bin. Of course there's no denying the musical idiosyncrasies of childhood chums-cum-faux-brothers Gene and Dean Ween.
Technically skilled musicians, they hop from genre to genre and crack jokes like Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in a road movie. Ween has fashioned a deep catalog of clever send-ups: the immortal country kiss-off ("Piss up a Rope"), a spot-on Motörhead party anthem ("It's Gonna Be a Long Night"), dark humor ("Spinal Meningitis [Got Me Down]"), and juvenile guffaws ("You Fucked Up" and "Push th' Little Daisies").
But Ween is also a phenomenal live act: At Bonnaroo '04, the duo's set extended for more than three joyous hours. The band is touring in support of this week's release, La Cucaracha, highlighted by the south-of-the-border cocktail jazz of "Fiesta" and the over-the-top garage psych of "My Own Bare Hands," which sounds like the Butthole Surfers blasting through the Get Hip catalog.
Ween's goofy charm serves as an ideal antidote for pretentious musicians worried about their "art"; its sharp musicianship and relentless antics make the most jaded listeners crack smiles (particularly music fans who can detect all the in-jokes). If that's not your thing, no worries; Ween will soon be along with a "Poopship Destroyer" or "Mushroom Festival In Hell."
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