Some artists thrive off of sounding heavy and aggressive, some off of evoking high energy, some from being emotionally appealing, some by creating unique in-depth atmospheres. And then there are artists who thrive off of just being as weird and abnormal as possible. The members of Ween are that last type of artist.
Ween’s The Mollusk is a nautical themed journey through the, for the lack of a better word, creative minds of the band’s members and I must say, it certainly sounds like it was written and performed by creatures from the depths of the sea. But the question here really is: is that a good or a bad thing? Well to answer that, let’s dive a bit further, shall we?
The first track, “I’m Dancing in the Show Tonight” is a reworking of the Christmas novelty song “Are My Ears on Straight?” Except unlike the original, this song comes off as a demented kind of silly, not necessarily evil but certainly unnerving. The vocals are constantly shifting through levels of distortion and modified pitch, making for an absolutely odd opening to the album. As far as the quality of the song, it’s fun, but not really the best this album has to offer.
“The Mollusk” however, is really interesting to me. It’s very atmospheric in an entertaining way. I really like the sliding synths, they remind of me another Ween song, “Flutes of Chi.” Oh, have I mentioned this isn’t my first rodeo with Ween. I kind of knew what to expect going in, but seeing as it was Ween, was still shocked by a lot of what I found. Regardless, this song is really interesting and entertaining. The ending with the synthesized brass and spoken word bit really drives home the absolutely lovely oddity that is this track.
“Polka Dot Tail” is a combination of nursery rhymes and absolute psychedelic madness and nonsense. This is definitely one of the trippier sounding tracks on the album. Unfortunately, it’s still one of the weaker tracks on the album. That’s not to say it’s bad, or even that it’s not good, just that there’s so much more to be explored here that stands out more.
An example of that being “I’ll Be Your Jonny on the Spot.” This song is plenty fast with very heavy distortion all throughout. Despite the high energy the instrumental has, the vocals are very monotonous, only fast enough to keep up with the song. Also, this song has an absolutely crazy fun weird guitar solo that I keep wanting to relisten to the song for if nothing else but that. This is my easy pick for favorite song in the first half of the album.
“Mutilated Lips” is another song like “Polka Dot Tail” where I don’t have much to say about, other than I really like it and it’s really tripy. Also, the line “Take my hand, you ugly girl” really makes me giggle for some reason. This is also the point on the album where I realized almost every song has a guitar solo, but all of them are radically different from each other, an aspect I find very interesting and amusing.
“The Blarney Stone” is the next track and it’s…uh…pirate themed? Rather, that’s not a question, it is pirate themed, but my question is more why. Unfortunately, despite the interesting theme this song gets a bit plain. The joke is funny, but not funny enough for three minutes especially when the song is pretty repetitive overall. It’s unfortunate because silly pirate themed things are something I’m generally drawn to, but this song is just, well, kind of boring.
“It’s Gonna Be (Alright)” is the only song on here that really just sounds like a normal song a normal band would write and I genuinely think that is its greatest weakness. It’s my least favorite track on the album on the basis that amongst everything else it’s just kind of disappointingly plain. I might like it more outside the context of the album, but that’s not really what this review is about. But it’s fine, because I’ve got quite a bit to say about the rest of the songs on this album.
So much to say in fact, that I’m going to have to split this review in half. Every song is so unique on this album that I can’t really group them together as I often do, so we’ll just have to finish this in two parts.
Thank you for reading as per usual, and I hope to have you all next week as I finish up my review on Ween’s The Mollusk.