Ween White Pepper (Elektra)

White Pepper (Elektra)


White Pepper (Elektra)

It's futile to try and figure out at any given moment what Ween are really up to. From high-pitched nerd-novelty to earnest old-style country, Gene and Dean Ween have mapped out a career course similar to little Billy's dotted line in Family Circus cartoons. With White Pepper, the notorious brothers Ween have more or less set their sights on glorifying, or perhaps destroying, the Seventies, and do so with much aplomb. "Bananas and Blow" is unmistakably Jimmy Buffett freed from the constraints of subtlety (no "shaker of salt" metaphors here) and "Stay Forever" is Gerry Rafferty, period. Other songs are more sneaky, with a lot of post-Beatles Lennon & McCartney-style pop included to show that these guys know how to compose a great hit song -- or at least something that would have been a hit 20-odd years ago. If this sounds like a similar path to the one recently trod by fellow unlikely major-label mainstays the Flaming Lips on The Soft Bulletin, try taking things ahead about five years and you've got the picture: Bulletin recreates the experimental, sometimes ugly beauty of late-Sixties/early-Seventies progressive pop, while Pepper skips forward to the big studio sound of the slick, pre-disco era, and does so without a slip. Scariest re-creation is "Even If You Don't," which sounds precisely like a lost track from early New Wavers /Lennon associates the Korgis -- or, to make a less obscure comparison, a lot like Tears For Fears' Beatlesque hit "Sowing the Seeds of Love."


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Ken Lieck
The Secret History of the English Language
If the late Douglas Adams had made his mark as a writer of history textbooks, the resulting volumes might read like The Secret History of the English Language

March 7, 2008

Elvis Is Titanic: Classroom Tales From the Other Iraq
If you think you know everything about how America is viewed by the people whom our troops are meant to be protecting, there is much in this volume that will surprise you

Nov. 16, 2007

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle