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September 3rd, 2003 WW MUSIC STAFF | Album Reviews
 

the reckoning:

Verdicts on New Music

     
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VARIOUS ARTISTS
Drop the Dept
(Say it Loud/ World Village)

The recent proliferation of benefit albums suggests at least one record is required for every cause, so it shouldn't be too long before there's an anti-protest benefit album or something of the ilk. In the meantime, there are still many worthwhile benefits, such as Drop the Debt, which helps support the movement to cancel the insurmountable debts of Third World countries, an act that would help the economic development of these poverty-ravaged nations. Drop the Debt has the music to back it up, with all 16 tracks, most of them originals, recorded exclusively for the compilation. It's a diverse collection that spans everywhere from France (Massilia Sound System, Les Fabulous Trobadors) to Brazil (Chico César, Lenine) to Cape Verde (Césaria Évora) and more. Most of the tracks are collaborations that in some way evoke a unique hybrid flavor, from Tiken Jah Fakoly and Tribo de Jah's Latin reggae to the Afro-funk of Tarace Boulba and Ablaye Mbaye, and all rhythms in between. These compositions effectively blend potent political lyricism with sometimes mournful and contemplative sounds that make for an impressive sampling of some of the world's unheard voices. (Kai Hsing)

WEEN
Quebec
(Sanctuary Records)

Through a long, baffling discography, the (supposed) brothers Ween have mimicked and mashed about all hummable 20th-century music. They approach their twisted master class with a boundless eclecticism approaching schizophrenia. Only the most cultish listeners admire every Ween album equally. For the more discerning, the albums are generally a crapshoot. Those attracted by 2000's relatively overproduced, relatively coherent White Pepper should find Quebec, despite a handful of tracks dripping Pepper's gorgeous melodies and pop classicism, a bit more challenging. Ween leads Quebec with a feverish, straight-faced garage-rocker that eerily resembles mid-'80s Lemmy. But the rest of the album doesn' follow step, with somber ballads straddling ambient noodling and infectious psychedelia. Quebec's a pretty, practiced and hopelessly fractured mix tape--like the province itself, actually. But for Ween that seems rather too literal. (Jay Horton)

 
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