Uke-Hunt - Uke-Hunt (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Uke-Hunt (2014)

Fat Wreck Chords

Webster's online dictionary defines the phrase Renaissance Man as "a man who is interested in and knows a lot about many things." If that definition includes an interest in various musical genres as well as a penchant for storytelling (any interview anywhere), then multi–instrumentalist/vocalist/punster Spike Slawson is one. Not only is he/has he been an integral member of various favorites (Swingin' Utters, The Re–Volts, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes), but he's got a new solo–ish project called Uke–Hunt ready to throw its luau–inspired vibes upon you.

Much like the Gimmes records, Uke–Hunt is an album of covers done in a different vibe. Unlike the Gimmes records, Uke–Hunt is not a tongue–in–cheek record. Whereas Slawson's "other band" may ply its trade in jokey–yet–faithful renditions of previous material, his new project showcases older material done in a completely different way, but without the wink and nod. The pun may be intended, but Uke–Hunt is not a joke of an album.

"End of the World" reworks the 1962 Skeeter Davis classic to a tropical, Polynesian strum. The Kinks' "Animal Farm" is give the uke–treatment, as well as Depeche Mode's classic "Enjoy the Silence." If it sounds like it's all over the place, selection–wise, that's because it is.

At first glance, Uke–Hunt looks like another punk novelty. But one listen grows into another, and before you know it, you've had the album on repeat for hours. Fans of Slawson's previous (and current) bands will be intrigued because of his association, but will stick around for repeated listens because of the unique and sincere interpretations of the songs he's chosen.

"Needles and Pins" (originally recorded by Jackie Shannon and written by Sonny Bono), the Carpenters' "Rainy Days and Mondays" and the country standard "Green, Green Grass of Home" (first made popular by Porter Waggoner) are a few of the other American classics covered by Slawson and Co. There are no jokes or snarkiness to be found, however. These are all straight re–interpretations of classic songs. Punks looking for a Gimmes–inspiried ukulele parody will be disappointed.

Spike Slawson has put together a pleasurable reinterpretation of classics that fans of the originals can enjoy along with younger fans discovering the songs for the first time. Mike Hunt may not be a member, but that's no reason to not give Uke–Hunt a try.