Ween: La Cucaracha

By: Scott Caffrey

With a mere glance at its raunchy cover art, La Cucaracha (Rounder) is as good a sign as any that our Good Ol' Ween is back. Gone is the despondence and apathy that palled the manic genius of Quebec, and hello "Fiesta!" A blast of pure, action-packed energy, our heroes turn into a psychedelic Tijuana Brass Band. They've always been good for a few punishing album openers, but this aural party is far and away their most upbeat. In just over two minutes, it heralds a return to form and an uptick in attitude.

In many ways, La Cucaracha is just more typical Ween. Variety remains, absurdity reigns and, taken as a whole, the album presents the usual challenges. Select tracks quickly stand out, but given proper time even the bummers reveal their positive qualities. They sure as hell haven't run out of new experiments to explore, all the while hanging onto their stalwart trademarks. This time they take on reggae ("Fruit Man"), New Age spas ("Spirit Walker") and ripsnortin' bluegrass ("Learnin' to Love"). There's also guitar rawk ("My Own Bare Hands"), the blippy floater ("Blue Balloon"), humor ("Shamemaker") and even some regular maintenance of the creep factor ("Object"). The surprises here lie only in their decisions of what sounds to ape. Again, vintage Ween.

Among all this brown stands their best work in eons, "Woman and Man." A massive, progged-out epic, these 10 frantic, beautiful minutes make this wild animal a combination of nearly all the threads they've gathered over the years. It's Fela Kuti and Led Zeppelin all in the same masterstroke. And it ends with disparate sounds of a Normandy Beach-style invasion and a woman reaching orgasm. Hoo-wee. Just listen, because frankly it saves the album from being just another Ween release and makes it really fucking great.

The album ends, curiously, with "Your Party," a collaboration with the great David Sanborn. Years ago, Deaner said they would never use horns unless they "could get David Sanborn to play some sexy saxophone." They accomplish that here. However, I can't help but want way more out of Sanborn-infused Ween than this saccharine song, especially if they've wanted to work with him for 15 years. I really dig the try, but I just think they needed to get more out of it.

The common theme of La Cucaracha, not unlike its predecessor Quebec, is relationships. An endlessly fascinating topic, relationships seen through the gauzy Ween lens become even more bewitching. Clearly, they came out of rehab thankful that they have "Friends" at all.

JamBase | Boognish Bay
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[Published on: 12/11/07]

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jbrown21 starstarstarstarstar Tue 12/11/2007 10:22AM
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I think the album is quite sick. sock it to the BOOG{:

Tan starstarstarstarstar Tue 12/11/2007 10:45AM
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Ween is special.

Ston starstarstarstar Tue 12/11/2007 03:54PM
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I hope Scott listened to the album more than once before posting the review. Like all, okay, like most Ween albums, you either like it or don't like it. Simply put. But, you have to give their albums several listens to really grasp what the album is all about.

nfenne starstarstarstar Wed 12/12/2007 06:27AM
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I felt like the reviewer did a very thorough review. Makes me want to check out the album and I'm not a big fan of Ween. Good job Scott.

D-Line Wed 12/12/2007 09:04AM
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the review is fine, the album kicks ass, i havnt stopped listening to it since i got it, altho the review fails to mention that if you bought the album off I-Tunes theres a bonus track at the end called "Bag of Fat" which doesnt come on the CD, this song is great too, vintage Ween. i saw them 2 weeks ago in NYC they destoyed the place, they are a true rock and roll band. the place was sold out and the energy in the building was tremendous, i advise everyone to go see this band...get your brown on (p.s. differnt setlist every night)

nomemory starstarstarstar Thu 12/13/2007 08:23AM
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Th' new Ween album kicks some major booty! But then, I have yet to hear a Ween album that I don't like, so my opinion may be a bit bias. I thought the review was fairly well done. I give the album a five, and the review a four. Gotta love that brown sound.

breadloaf starstarstarstar Thu 12/13/2007 09:06AM
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Have you ever tried to turn a friend on to Ween and they just don't get it? I've had this happen many times. Such a personal taste deal with these guys- and I've experienced women in particular overlook the tongue in cheek quality that Ween exudes and they end up offended -also a glorious part of Ween culture! Good review, disc if a lot of fun. There is a backstory on the David Sanborn solo from an interview that Mickey did with Fender. You can find the link on Deaner's blog. They have been gigging that song (Your Party) long before the album came out. Mickey is a murderer on "Bare Hands" live- you can tell that he lives for that one in the set.

jlfath Thu 12/13/2007 12:02PM
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It's too bad he was a little down on "Your Party", it is probably my favorite song on the album.

My favorite line from the whole album is from "My Own Bare Hands"....

Take a s**t on the b***h

S**t, f**k, hooba-jooba

suckin on my s**t.

Kickin with a p***y maama-jamma motherf**ker

and suck my f**kin d**ck

Pammers starstarstarstar Sat 12/15/2007 11:37AM
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This album got me across the state I love it. Weens new album is just what the Dr. ordered. Great fucking jobs fellas.

elmcdnld starstarstarstar Sat 2/2/2008 10:41AM
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My only problem with this article is that the predecessor of La Cucaracha is Shinola v.1, not Quebec- and Quebec is awesome! However- I must agree with above statements claiming that there was never a bad Ween album- Can't wait until they head back to the US.

elmcdnld Sat 2/2/2008 10:43AM
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Oh yeah- and PS- I'm a woman who is fucking crazy about these guys! You just have to have a sense of humor about it, but if you can look past some of the offensive language, then you can see that these guys really are philosophers

avk27 Sun 3/2/2008 08:14PM
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ween is way better than any band out there