It’s not exactly a concept album about sea-life exotica, as songs like the title tune, “The Golden Eel,” and “Ocean Man” might lead you to expect, but The Mollusk does come off very much like Ween’s tribute to art rock—right down to the cover-design credit to Storm Thorgerson, who wrapped Hipgnosis graphics around many a Pink Floyd LP. Not that Ween bros Gene and Dean are aiming quite so high; “Golden Eel” is more of a piece with Hotlegs’ goofy Have a Nice Day-era nugget “Neanderthal Man” than with”Us and Them.” The straight-faced ballad “Cold Blows the Wind” does, however, manage to conflate hushed Floydlike vocals, “Nights in White Satin” Mellotron, and Brit-folk tale-telling into a compelling whole that seems to evince a real devotion to the old FM era. “She Wanted to Leave” is the lament of a ship captain whose lady friend is stolen by pirates; the lady just says, “Later, dude.” Most audacious (and catchy) of these pastiches, however, is “Buckingham Green,” which might be a Bizarro World Tull obscurity. It wouldn’t be a Ween album without utter crassness, though, so the relatively subtle musical humor eventually gives way to the likes of “Waving My Dick in the Wind,” apparently a leftover from last year’s 12 Golden Country Greats, and “The Blarney Stone,” both a deeply insulting new St. Patrick’s Day anthem and an answer record to Nick Cave’s “Stagger Lee.”

—Rickey Wright