Ween – The Mollusk

Ween  1997 Elektra Recordings

Rumour has it that Dean and Gene Ween put together this, their magnum opus of twisted humour set to infectious eclectic melodies, on the northern east coast close to the shore (hence the obvious nautical themes).

Whatever the origin, the fact remains that there is no one making music quite like Ween.  From their inception, these goofballs from New Hope, PA have existed in their own world with an open invitation to all of us to visit anytime and stay as long as we’d like.

The Mollusk runs the gamut from Brit-pop to showtunes to beer-swilling sea-salt rantings (see The Blarney Stone – “If I don’t get some fresh bread soon, gonna punch in yer face an’ bark at the moon.”).   Man, just where did this stuff come from?

Opener “Dancing In The Show Tonight” sets their trademark tape-speed vocal experimentation to a Broadway showtune styling that will have you both tapping your foot and laughing hysterically at the same time.  It’s like the Chipmunks meet the Rockettes in a twisted way.

Title track “The Mollusk” follows immediately after and really sets the tone for the rest of the CD with its aquatic/atmospheric instrumentation and sense of fun that showcases two musical minds (that would be Dean and Gene Ween) focused more on having fun than anything else and being so talented that they can’t help but stumble upon melodic hook after melodic hook.

No matter what their musical mood in a given song, these guys just deliver track after track loaded with personality, experimentation and good humour.  Highlights include “I’ll Be Your Jonny On The Spot,” the aforementioned “Blarney Stone,” “Mutilated Lips,” and “Polka Dot Tail” (including the sidesplitting rhyme “Have you ever made a flan, and squished it in your hand?”)

Testimony to their penchant for memorable melodies with incredible mass appeal, however, is the crown jewel of this CD “Ocean Man,” which was a deserved and fitting inclusion on the soundtrack to The Spongebob Squarepants Movie.  Man, my kids love this song as much as I do…although there are other songs on The Mollusk that I prefer to keep away from their tender young ears.   “Ocean man, the crust of a tan man imbibed by the sand, soaking up the thirst of the land.” – There’s just nothing like a good pop/rock song with a healthy injection of vocabularic intelligence.

Is “vocabularic” even a word?   In the world of Ween, it doesn’t even matter.

Fill up your scuba tanks and dive in.

Rating:  5 out of 5