MC Esher Music
Four years from the stunning poise and psychedelic expansion of Quebec, Ween’s last album for a major label, the brothers Dean and Gene Ween return with La Cucaracha, their first for independent Rounder Records. True to Ween form, just about every song is an utter left turn genre-wise, disparate enough stylistically to confuse an unfamiliar listener into thinking it’s not even the same group.Fiesta starts everything off with a garage-rock backing rhythm and a feisty horn chart, absent of vocals and filled with cymbal crashes. “The Fruit Man” splashes slowly through calypso and dub bass with Gene Ween impersonating a Caribbean accent to the best of his ability. In far more aggressive territory, the raspy delivery of “She’s gonna be my cock professor studyin’ my dick / She’s gonna get a master’s degree in fucking me” completes a misogynist character portrait, aiming for as dirty a presentation as possible on “With My Own Bare Hands.”
Fans of Dean Ween’s remarkable guitar playing will hear comparatively less of it here than on Quebec. (Only the epic 10-minute Santanaesque jam “Woman and Man” allows him to flex his abilities.) Opting to push more for diversity rather than beauty, the synth-heavy dance track “Friends,” the semi-spiritual “Spirit Walker” and groupie ode “Sweetheart” display the group’s impressive range yet fail to maintain the album’s momentum.
Songs such as “Roses” from Chocolate and Cheese or “Happy Colored Marbles” from Quebec were enticing changes of pace that helped build excitement while tracking through each album respectively. The songs here seem to be more of an excuse to experiment with random genres, rather than artistically coming up with material that fits them. Nevertheless, the confessional chauvinism of “Object” and the fun, strange and bounciful “Shamemaker” capture enough of Ween’s trademark eclecticism from albums past to satisfy diehard fans.