Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Ween - "At The Cat's Cradle, 1992" CD+DVD
Ween, to the novice, could easily come across as sophomoric, juvenile, and maybe even unprofessional. But to those who look a little deeper, these goofball virtuosos are fearlessly professional risk-takers and unlikely pop-stars with a voracious musical appetite, and Dean and Gene could easily be successful at any kind of music. They have been musical chameleons for many years, and their mastery of all kinds of sounds is inspiring and truly 'punk rock'. They are reckless and cheeky, and always surprising and fun.
'At The Cat's Cradle' is a very early live show (soundboard, luckily), from their days as a duo-with-a-drum-machine. If Ween are, umm, 'refined' master-pranksters nowadays, songs like the opening 'Big Jilm', are raw and jammy with mid-song dialogues and some improvised silliness. Ween's any-genre predilection encompasses weirdo pop, weirdo funk, weirdo post-punk, and something else that resembles classic rock. 'Don't Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy)' is a particularly theatrical, dramatic take/parody/homage to big stadium rock, and a standout that culminates in some messed-up sampling at the tail-end. 'Mango Woman' is like a rasta Butthole Surfers - and yet somehow getting sentimental and sweet in a stoned-out way. 'El Camino' borrows a little from 'White Rabbit', and the vitriolic 'You Fucked Up' is a dirty rock outburst (in a wonderfully primal fashion). 'Buckingham Green' is a mellow, almost folksy ballad that ends up spacing out with some wicked guitar soloing. The attached DVD features some bootleggy footage of the boys having fun on-stage and during a radio interview. Inessential, but more than watchable, especially for single-camera footage.
Ween are always adept at tackling various styles and moods, and even in these very early days, their comprehensive knowledge and love for music is evident. And though this live set can be a bit draggy in spots, there's plenty of Ween-genius (Weenius?) to go around. (MVD Audio)