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Various Artists | I'm In Love ...With That Song:23 Australian bands pay tribute to the genius of the Replacements (Antfarm)
Whether or not you consider the Replacements to have had the gift of genius or not there's still much to be enjoyed here. Loved by their fans with religious zeal and similarly admired by critics, the band, in retrospect, always seemed destined for failure so great were the expectations of success. In existence from 1980 until their dissolution in 1991, the band's singer-songwriter, Paul Westerberg has continued to release some excellent records, though sadly to diminishing sales, indifferent critical response and a seemingly total lack of label support. Covering material and styles from throughout The Replacements career, the acts featured range from total unknowns to the firmly established and even some that have already broken up. Perhaps that's taking the tribute angle too far! The album cleverly kicks off with Brad Shepherd's (ex-Hoodoo Gurus) energetic take on The Replacements own tribute to one of their heroes, Alex Chilton. Amongst some of the better known artists taking part are The Celibate Rifles, DM3 and You Am I (with a distorted and venomous take on White & Lazy). Elsewhere, of the lesser known names, Golden Rough's countrified Achin' To Be, Love Me's, Marianne Faithful inspired vocal on Sadly Beautiful and Ice Cream Hands delicate Swinging Party are all worthy of mention. Probably the greatest criticism levelled at tribute albums is that by their very nature - artists recording songs by their own favourite artists - the interpretations can be overly reverential. Admittedly that's no different here, but when the songs are this good and the interpreters likewise then the results make this album worthwhile. The track by Erbs & Pisces even presents an intriguing new way in which to tackle tribute records. On Replacements First Single they cover both sides of the band's first single I'm In Trouble and simultaneously to bizarrely successful effect. So, an album for Replacements fans, Australian guitar bands and the merely curious then.

Geraint Jones
CWAS #6 - Autumn 2000