Bright Little Field: Treatment Bound: A Ukulele Tribute to the Replacements
The best tracks on this album generally tend to be of covers of songs that felt like jokes in the first place.
Just in time for the reunion of one of America’s top alternative rock bands of the ’80s – well, if you can consider a reunion merely being between solely two members and the release of a limited edition 10-inch covers EP – comes this re-release of a 2010 album consisting of 12 covers of songs by the Replacements as performed on, wait for it, the ukulele. If that sounds like a novelty gag to you, well, it is. However, Treatment Bound: A Ukulele Tribute to the Replacements isn’t really the plane crash that you would expect it to be, and that’s partially a testament to the songwriting prowess of Paul Westerberg and company that the songs can hold themselves up to being deconstructed in what appears to be such a seemingly mocking manner. The other half of the equation is that Nashville’s Bright Little Field – consisting of the duo of Tom Littlefield and Jonathan Bright – have a deeper reverence for the material that comes across as genuine and sincere.
Still, the best tracks on this album generally tend to be of covers of songs that felt like jokes in the first place, such as the countrified “If Only You Were Lonely” and the ramshackle “Treatment Bound”. Otherwise, the covers come across as being a bit sweet natured, which is an odd feeling because much of the Replacements' catalogue deals in themes of alienation and loneliness. Ergo, something gets a little lost in translation when you hear many of the more earnest songs, especially “I’ll Be You”, which sounds a little too giddy and upbeat for its own good. Still, this tribute album isn’t horrible, which is a small miracle, and it does serve a bit of a useful utility: after hearing the interpretation of the songs contained within, it will make you salivate to hear the real thing as done by the real McCoys all over again.