Album Review for The Skinny
ween - la cucaracha (***)
Veteran American japesters Ween are masters of the half-serious game they play: mocking music styles and conventions, and building barriers to criticism through their own highly developed sense of irony. When they play it sorta-straight, Ween display a wide-ranging songwriting talent capable of evoking varied reactions: as on the explicitly carnal metal-punk of My Own Bare Hands, the self-loathing ballad Object, or the cartoonish bounce of Friends and Shamemaker. But among the 13 tracks of La Cucaracha are parodies of reggae, new-age spiritual music, hillbilly and prog-rock (at least, we must hope these wacky boys are winking). Like any joke, these spoofs lose their appeal after just a few listens. For example, the 11-minute Woman and Man perfectly lampoons the grandiose ambition of pretentious prog, with ridiculous statements, pompous drum solos, and overblown guitar workouts. It’s a great yarn, but how many times have you actually listened to that Spinal Tap LP?