Release Date: Oct 23, 2007
Record label: Rounder
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
With La Cucaracha, they return full circle, recording the album in a rented farmhouse in their hometown of New Hope, PA, and they seem re-energized by the smaller scale yet they don't abandon the frightening musical acumen they've garnered in the past 15 years. As such, the album is almost the best of both worlds: it has the devilish, off-kilter vibe of the earliest records but it's played with the skill of their latter-day albums, so this bounces from the elastic pop of "Blue Balloon" to the full-throated roar of "My Own Bare Hands," as punishing a rocker as they've ever cut. And while they never abandon genre-hopping -- "The Fruit Man" is this album's excursion into reggae, "Spirit Walker" and the ten-minute "Woman and Man" their prog rock numbers -- nothing feels like a deliberate parody.
Half the fun of listening to Ween is trying to discern how much gravitas informs their strange and singular musical ambiguity song by song. Next to 2003's comparatively straight-shooting Quebec, Ween's first studio album in four years is flush with quick right turns. It's easy enough to ferret out intentions when Mickey "Dean Ween" Melchiondo bellows, "She's gonna be my cock professor" on big, dumb rock opus "My Own Bare Hands," but what about "Woman and Man"? The 10-minute guitar-shredding epic bears more than a passing resemblance to Santana, but is it truly a soul sacrifice? Likewise, "Spirit Walker," with its string arrangement and lyrics, wouldn't be entirely out of place on a John Denver LP.