Reviews Dean Ween Group Rock 2

Dean Ween Group

Rock 2

I generally shy away from track-by-track reviews, because they get long, boring and kind of miss the point of an album as a whole anyway. That said, whenever I write about Ween and related projects, the disparity from song to song is a little more difficult. There are 11 songs on this 38-minute record and they range from classic rock wankery to juvenile kitsch, a bit of county and everything else that pairs well with a black light in a musty basement.

I was leery about The Dean Ween Group coming into The Deaner Record, but it sparkled like a collection of Ween outtakes (which it kind of was) along the lines of Shinola’s better moments. But, while The Deaner Record admitted to being a lot of old material, Rock 2 was written in the now, in the “post-Ween” era (whatever that means gives the band’s short-lived break-up followed by solo efforts amid some back-and-forth reunion shows). The Dean Ween Group bears Deaner’s name, but he’s backed by a capable and familiar group of musicians who were on many (if not most) of Ween’s material.

The songs this time around lean heavily toward Deaner’s penchant for juvenile lyrical themes over entrenched genre fundamentals. “Pussy on My Pillow” is a country weeper of sorts, “Fingerbangin’” is in the quasi-instrumental tradition of “The H.I.V. Song” or “Pink Eye (On My Leg)” with a groovy/rocking vibe and it gives an early burst of levity between the classic rock meets jam band tones that take over the record at times. “Yellow Pontiac” celebrates white trash culture in the way that pretty much only Deaner does, whether in Ween, solo, or with Moistboyz.

“Don’t Let the Moon Catch You Crying” is a classic Ween-style mid-tempo rock ballad where the pop sensibilities and melodies shine through in surprising ways. Then it’s immediately followed by the space rock-tinged jam “Waste Station 9.” This middle section of Rock 2 is the strongest part of the album, blending those spacey, pop, and classic rock influences with more subtlety and less indulgence.

While I speak of the expansive, jam band tone of the record versus quirky weirdo tracks, there’s a solid mix of both, probably about 60/40 former-to-latter. Rock 2 doesn’t offer any surprises for those to follow Deaner’s catalog, and on his sophomore “solo” record, the pattern fits more with later Ween than earlier, with grandiose concepts and guitar-driven songwriting. It’s still goofy, but without the Casio and silly voices. It’s solidly tongue-in-cheek and, at times, utterly ridiculous, but countered with very serious musicianship in that unique blend that only the surname Ween has mastered.

7.5 / 10Loren
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7.5 / 10

7.5 / 10

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