Monday, November 26, 2012

Bright Little Field “Treatment Bound: A Ukulele Tribute to the Replacements”

(Bar None) I sure used to love the Replacements, though I never listen to them anymore, so the first thing I’d like to do here is thank Jonathan Bright and Tom Littlefield for reminding me how solid and awesome and catchy and different that mighty Minnesota band’s music was/is. These ukulele cover versions certainly demonstrate the strength of the source material, and this is sincere and far from a novelty record. But as pleasant as “Treatment Bound” is, it maybe could be improved by being a bit more novel…I’m sort of shocked that this isn’t an instrumental record. They are paying tribute to the ‘Mats, but not to the ukes…they should have let the little guys have the spotlight to show off their unique musical character (and the non-lyrical qualities of Paul Westerberg’s compositions) more. While the whimsical qualities of the instrument (and the bang-a-pot percussion aesthetic employed here) are well showcased, by singing these songs straight (or at all) it takes away from the ukul-arious humor inherent in uke use, and obscures the mastery of the instrument by these fine pickers. Still, really nice record overall, and I’ll spin it alongside the Replacement records I’m playing this week.

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