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Ukulele-based covers might seem to bypass an essential element in the Replacements’ mix of yearning with bravado — Paul Westerberg and Co. were rockers, albeit of a power-pop persuasion. But Nashville-based duo Bright-Little-Field’s homespun approach (dual ukuleles, up-close vocals, and congas) sidesteps the threat of uke cuteness and underscores Westerberg’s songwriting while paying homage to his delivery, turning a questionable idea into a winning proposition. Replacements fans-but-not-fanatics like myself are motivated to dive into the Replacements’ back catalog. And B-L-F plays with such spirit on Treatment Bound that I want to nose around about them, too.

Westerberg’s strong melodies, generally romantic worldview, and casually concise exposition, such as “Let’s count the rings around my eyes” (“I Will Dare”), and “Somewhere there’s a smile with my name on it” (“If Only You Were Lonely”), shine in this setting. Still, diehard rockers may be reassured: the Replacements could have blown this sucker away.

  • Album: Treatment Bound: A Ukulele Tribute to the Replacements
  • Artist: Bright-Little-Field
  • Label: Bar None
  • Songs: (1) We’re Coming Out, (2) Androgynous, (3) I Will Dare, (4) If Only You Were Lonely, (5) I’ll Be You, (6) Treatment Bound, (7) Little Mascara, (8) Swinging’ Party, (9) Kiss Me on the Bus, (10) Skyway, (11) Achin’ to Be, (12) Can’t Hardly Wait
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