In the pantheon of musical instruments totally incompatible with adrenaline-fueled pop punk, the ukulele has to rank near the top, alongside the glockenspiel, celesta, and krummhorn. No matter how vigorously a uke is strummed, it never really conveys urgency. So, on its face, an album of ukulele covers of Blink-182 songs would seem to be all wrong. And yet such a thing actually exists, and it’s charming as all hell. An Indianapolis outfit identifying itself as Blink 182kulele has posted the slight but winning 10-track collection entitled The Pineapple Above (Horse Around Rodeo Clown; Muscle To Jimmy Russia) to its Bandcamp page as a name-your-price download. The timing could not be better. This is clearly intended as warm weather music. While the lyrics and melodies from tracks like “What’s My Age Again?” and “Built This Pool” have been retained, the arrangements have been given a major overhaul. The songs now chug along at a relaxed, reggae-ish tempo, with a steel drum prominent in the mix. This is the musical equivalent of a sweet cocktail served in a coconut shell with a little umbrella sticking out of it. Imagine Blink-182 totally wrecked on Gleemonex, vacationing on a sun-dappled island somewhere.
Considering that its very name is a labored pun, Blink 182kulele is a high-concept act without much potential for artistic growth. Even the musicians behind this project seem to get a little bored with the gimmick by the end. Maybe that’s why one of the covers included here, “Olde English 800,” was originally recorded by Matt Skiba’s other band, Alkaline Trio, rather than Blink-182 proper. There are a couple of boozy covers of Dent May and Tumbledown songs here, too. Regardless of their origins, these songs still make an ideal soundtrack for anyone whose plans for June, July, and August include avoiding productivity at all cost.