Published Jul 22, 2014When Aaron Freeman released his debut, 2012's innocuous Rod McKuen covers album Marvelous Clouds, it left legions of Ween fans wondering just what happened to the quirky, irreverent, often-intoxicated Gene Ween of yore. On FREEMAN, his sophomore album and first collection of original material since the messy breakup of Ween, Aaron (assuming the titular FREEMAN moniker) has attempted to regain some of his goofball charm while retaining some of his more recent emotive sensibilities.
The resulting 12 tracks find Freeman both revelling in and lost within this musical yin and yang, as tracks like "(For a While) I Couldn't Play My Guitar Like a Man" and "There is a Form" waffle between sincerity and absurdity while never fully committing itself to either. There are too many compelling sounds to dismiss Freeman as a complete misstep, though, as the confessional "Covert Discretion," the inexplicable "El Shaddai" and the Ween-esque "Black Bush" excel. FREEMAN is an album by a musician simultaneously trying to remember and forget the life he has lived. (Dine Alone)