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Wean - Quebec - Wean yourself - off the mainstream

2006-03-29 18:24

"It's Gonna be a Long Night" rocks on out to a high octane stadium swagger that manages to turn the riff from Lenny Kravitz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way" into a Motorhead worthy retro-garage blow out. From then on in though, the prank karaoke persona is filtered into far more eclectic and exhilarating listening territory. Slow psychedelic space walks ("Among His Tribe"), processed Zappa style stone outs ("Ooh Va La") and hung over country folk implosions ("Tried and True") segue from straightforward drive time ditties to "songs most likely never to get heard on the radio" exercises in excess ("So Many People in the Neighbourhood").

So yes, as expected Quebec is a seriously psychotic listen with the utterly doped up space jam "Captain" suggesting what Pink Floyd might've sounded like if they'd never made it back from the dark side of the moon. And as for the country breeze of "Fancy Pants" well, it skitters along to...hang on, is that an early Roxy Music cabaret cool! Sure, with a penchant for nonsensical lyrics that occasionally wander off into such goofball themes as anal sex ("Chocolate Town"), Gene and Dean Ween might not be your average listener's platter du jour. But obsessive fans whose collections include classic albums from the likes of Captain Beefheart, Syd Barrett and the 13th Floor Elevators are sure to be smiling.

For a band that built their cult reputations on being smart-assed musical mavricks, Ween has always been more impossible to pigeonhole than most. Are they authentic rock 'n roll savants or merely cartoon caricatures of what rock once stood for?

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