White Pepper

It's a waste.

It’s a waste. Undeniably good songwriters, Mickey Melchiondo and Aaron Freeman – ‘brothers’ Dean and Gene Ween – have spent the past ten years redirecting their talents towards pastiche, that most moribund of musical genres. The Ween project, while not quite down there with Weird Al Yankovic, is nonetheless still a little too ‘National Lampoon’, a little too geeky smirky, for British tastes.

But the first ten minutes of ‘White Pepper’ suggest that their style-hopping burlesque attitude can conjure some beautiful tunes if the references and writing are of high enough quality. So they do The Flaming Lips ‘Exactly Where I’m At’, they do Lennon ‘Flutes Of Chi’, they do McCartney ‘Even If You Don’t’, and you begin to wonder if that whole ‘talent borrows, genius steals’ clichi doesn’t ring true.

But then they spoil it all by doing post-Monkees Mike Nesmith on ‘Bananas And Blow’, and the rest of the album goes a little bit thrash, a little bit [I]faux[/I]-country, a little bit crap. It’s frustrating to see them pissing around like South Park‘s Matt and Trey, when they can produce something as genuinely affecting and pure pop as ‘Stay Forever’.

But then, maybe that’s the point. Perhaps the joke is that the Ween boys know how good they could be, but they prefer to sabotage their music with juvenile doodles, just to watch us squirm. Funny, huh?