Famous weirdo stays weird
Dean Ween is one of the more oddball musicians to have entered the recent rock scene. After Dean, aka Michael Melchiando, and Aaron Freeman met in junior high, the two soon became Dean and Gene Ween: and their ensuing band, Ween, had a successful indie rock career for two decades, with Freeman playing guitar and singing lead, and Michael playing guitar and accompanying backup vocals. Ween had a freewheeling and goofy musical style that borrowed bits from every genre under the sun, but in 2012 Gene chose to retire and begin a solo career under his birth name, Aaron Freeman–partially because of his decision to pursue sobriety instead of the drug-fueled lifestyle, for which Ween was well-known. The duo reunited in 2015, but Melchiando has also focused on releasing his own music, as part of the Dean Ween Group. The group has now released Deaner Rock 2.
Those who were hoping for music as wild as Ween’s original work will be pleased to know that this album is just as zany as anything he and Gene had ever released. Most of the songs are open vamps full of guitar solos; vocals rarely make an appearance. The songs all have extremely weird titles, such as “Someone Greased The Fatman,” “Pussy On My Pillow,” and the succinct “Fingerbanging”—the latter of which has no actual lyrics, just Melchiando muttering the title a few times. Seeing as Freeman (aka Gene) was the actual lead singer of Ween, it probably makes sense that Melchiondo chooses to focus almost exclusively on his guitar work instead. This is a good decision as well–he shreds all over the place on the album’s 11 tracks.
The nagging issue with this album is its lack of focus. A lot of the songs drone on way longer than they need to, and there are only so many ideas one can put into a G-blues structure. This makes the album seem like one big continuous jam as opposed to distinct song structures.
Those hoping for eccentricity will find it on Rock 2, but everyone else will soon become annoyed with the fact the music doesn’t really take itself seriously. Overall though, it’s a good listen, with enough fun moments to please the old fans, though not quite enough to attract new ones.