Album: Ween

La Cucaracha (Chocodog)
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The Independent Culture

Ween are one of America's most frustrating bands, packing as they do formidable musical talent, which is often expended on material that doesn't really merit it – such as the acutely observed, meticulously crafted stylistic pastiches that comprise a large part of their oeuvre. It might be fun opening an album with the trumpet fanfare of "Fiesta", but if I wanted to hear Tijuana Brass, I'd buy a Herb Alpert album.

The same applies to the Roger ("Dang Me") Miller country-scat nonsense stylings of "Learnin' to Love", and to the reggae pastiche "The Fruit Man", in which a fruit-farmer and a fisherman quarrel over the freshness of the latter's catch, in laboured patois: the result is marginally less embarrassing than "Dreadlock Holiday". As for the ghastly mockney impression used on "Shamemaker", one can only consider the song aptly titled.

The alternative, however, can be even more trying, as when they decide that what the pleasant jazz-pop number "Woman and Man" really needs is to be transformed into an 11-minute Santana jazz-rocker, complete with piercing guitar solo. It's sad: they've chops aplenty, but no serious idea of how to use them.

Download this: 'Friends', 'Lullaby', 'My Own Bare Hands'

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