Believe it or not, I’d never actually listened to Ween before. However, neither do I approach this review free of preconceptions. I know of George’s high praise for the band, I remember how high they were in his category system, and I’ve seen how much esteem Ween gets from the Only Solitaire troupe. So, what do I think of Ween’s The Mollusk?
1. Have I got a cute expression on my face? This sounds like some kind of music-hall-meets-preschool song. (Then it all makes sense. It is based upon a 50’s song, a B-side for “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”. Wonder what the effect would have been like, had they kept the originals lyrics: “I’m getting scared. Wish I could see in a mirror, How I’ve been repaired”). I like how they use different voices. It’s like autotune but fun.
2. Kind sir it’s a mollusk I’ve found. This one strongly reminds me of a Passion Play. The flute and guitar, the general arrangement and mood, the inclusion of a spoken bit, and instead of a hare, a mollusk! Great arrangement. Good Melody. Great song.
3. Have you ever seen a whale with a polka Dot Tail? Nice guitar solo. Great overall mood. It’s like progressively submerging into an ocean where electronic fish are swimming in.
4. I’ll Be Your Johnny… Like a punk song, but played very neatly. Like math rock without complex time signatures.
5. Mutilated lips give a kiss on the wrist of the worm like tips of tentacles expanding in my mind. One of the best songs in the album! A bit difficult to describe. With the acoustic guitar and the percussion the instrumental part could have been the setting for a soothing song. Instead, the voice’s sound sets a really unique mood. It isn’t really sad. It doesn’t sound relaxing or angry. It certainly doesn’t appear very happy either. It’s the sound of tentacles expanding in his mind, and he´s fine… The lyrics are great. Yes, they go with the nautical theme and original but most importantly, they work phonetically, they sound great.
6. AYE AYE AYE! The Pogues-meet-cock rock-meet Mull of Kintyre. Fun song indeed.
7. It’s Gonna Be Alright. This one is a bit boring compared to the others.
8. The words of the golden eel. Excellent song! It begins quite minimalistic, hi-hat and conga playing a simple rhythm. Then comes guitar and voice. A great riff. Then comes electronics. It keeps growing. Hi-hat and conga keep playing simple rhythm. Then full drum set comes in. Sound is BIG. Suddenly everything calms down again. Voice stops. Drum set stops. Assorted electronic background sounds stop. Even hi-hat and conga stop. A bass (or is it a guitar?) is left playing what Hi-hat and conga were playing before. Meanwhile, there’s a really cool and tasty guitar solo. Suddenly whole band comes in again and now it’s HUGE!
9. One kiss, one kiss of your lily white lips one kiss is all I crave! A traditional folk song! Ween-style (which means sooner or later electronics will come in). Beautiful lyrics and melody.
10. Don’t know why I feel this song belongs in Parklife. Is it that it reminds me of “The Debpt Collector”? Is it the dog barking in the background? Is it just the 90s sound?
11. I’m waving my dick in the wind. Ska-punk!
12. Turning fire to steam ON BUCKINGHAM GREEN. Another excellent song! For almost a minute the song progresses solely with voice and rhythm guitar and still sounds heavy. Then an acoustic lead guitar solo comes in, which sounds really cool on top of the distorted rhythm guitar. Then drums and distorted lead guitar comes in and it all becomes huge and epic.
13. Ocean man, take me by the hand, lead me to the land… Probably the closest there is in this album to a “normal” pop/rock song with “normal” structure. It’s catchy.
14. You wanted to leave… Good song. (For some reason I can’t stop imagining Jon Anderson’s voice singing it)………. And then it’s Preschool time again.
Overall rating: An EXCELLENT ALBUM. Go and listen to this album if you haven’t already. I will really recommend it, listen again to it and buy it physically if I get the chance. It may be missing something I can’t really describe. But who cares. This is an excellent album and I liked it more and more with each listen. Is it innovative? Well, on a song-by-song basis not all of them stand as truly original (some of them do). But the overall mood and theme of the album are truly unique. It has nothing to envy from any of alternative rock’s ‘classic albums’ from the 90’s. It’s probably better than most of them, more melodical and definitely most diverse than most. Also, it definitely avoids the common flaw of taking itself too seriously (Humour doesn’t make great music any less great! But many of today’s bands can’t seem to understand it). And it has a great album cover!