White Pepper

White Pepper

Eight years and five albums after signing to Elektra, Ween ended its relationship with the mainstream record industry by releasing White Pepper: the classic pop album its label had always longed for. If the first Ween song you heard was “Even If You Don’t” or “Exactly Where I’m At,” you’d be forgiven for assuming the band belonged to the same genre as Matthew Sweet or Ben Folds Five. And yet, like everything Ween has done, White Pepper isn't quite what it seems on the surface. Listeners can revel in the dense and delicious Beatles pastiches “Ice Castles,” “The Grobe," and “Falling Out,” but the elements are skewed just enough to maintain an uncertain edge. While The Beatles are the overarching reference point here (the title blends Sgt. Pepper's and the White Album), the album is also imbued with the glam rock and power pop of Todd Rundgren and Roxy Music. By the time you reach the spot-on Steely Dan imitation “Pandy Fackler,” it’s clear that Ween lets its fans have it both ways. It’s possible to celebrate the craftsmanship of the great dinosaurs of rock music in the same moment you’re teasing them.

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