While it's not strictly a concept album, The Mollusk does adhere to a theme and a setting: specifically, the ocean and all the activity that bubbles within and above it. Written and recorded while Dean and Gene Ween holed up in a seaside rental property on the Jersey Shore (midwinter, naturally), the album has a surprisingly cozy, affable feel. Even though it's in no way traditional (unless you count the traditions of '70s progressive rock), the listener gets the sense that the rowdy yarns of ancient sea shanties leaked into the songwriting process. While the record has moments of cacophony and aggression that align it with rock music, a more fitting relative might be Stevie Wonder’s 1979 album Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants”, which shares with The Mollusk a layered sound design rich with gurgling keyboards. Stevie might also relate to the inspiration Ween found in Earth’s natural wonders, whether it’s the “Golden Eel” or the whale in “Polka Dot Tail.” Though it was an arduous album for the band to finish, The Mollusk became a fan favorite for its cohesion and creativity, and Dean Ween later deemed it his favorite of all the records Ween had done.