Title: “The Mollusk”
Ween has long been one of those groups put in a category that isn’t quite novelty, but walking toward that end of the musical spectrum.
After last year’s announcement from Aaron Freeman (aka Gene Ween) that the group split after more than 25 years, it left a legacy that was often silly, inappropriate and goofy.
But also talented. The mark of the finest joke rockers is that long after the punch lines stop punching, the music is still worth hearing.
“The Mollusk” is such a record. Ween offers a kaleidoscope of sounds, all bound together tenuously as a seafaring concept album.
In true Ween fashion, it’s a patchwork quilt of styles. Lyrically, it rises above the childish level to which they sometimes resorted, although it’s not as though they suddenly found a fountain of maturity, either.
“The Blarney Stone” captures it well, a swashbuckling, mug-swaying sea shanty complete with a beer-swelled Irish brogue. It comes on the heels of “Mutilated Lips,” which brings spacey psychedelics to the soundscape.
For a group that infrequently took itself seriously, a grown-up effort shows just how musically talented they actually were.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.