Usually, when a product is advertised as "something for everyone," it is safe to say that that product will be a piece of utter and complete garbage. The problem with such all-encompassing ambition is that the aim to please the majority often severely compromises individuality.
In the realm of independent rock music, Jason Anderson (AKA Wolf Colonel) forcefully bucks this trend with his third release, the comprehensively titled Something/Everything! (K). The 14 varied tracks traverse a wide range of rock 'n' roll styles, including Elliott Smith-type bittersweet acoustic balladry, fuzz-drenched power-pop straight from Guided by Voices' garage, and even a bit of Pavement-esque lo-fi quirk. These different muses are combined effortlessly into an entire album's worth of pleasant surprises.
Anderson compensates for his typically unpolished indie-rock voice with a keenly tuned ear for catchy pop hooks. These inescapable melodies make Something/Everything! more than just a hodge-podge of miscellaneous styles, carelessly thrown together. Anderson's penchant for brevity also serves him well: among the 14 songs, only two venture beyond the four-minute mark, with most only lasting around two minutes.
A good example of Anderson showing off his best qualities is the short-and-sweet opener, "Astronaut, Astronaut." The song has a concise, 45-second introduction, until it explodes into a rousing, classic power-pop chorus that lasts for the remainder of the three-minute song. There's no second verse and no reason to hit the fast-forward button.
The more experimental "Citizen's Arrest" features drones, hazy organs, a head-bobbing break-beat and Anderson's distorted vocals that recall fellow indie-rockers Sparklehorse. In the light-hearted acoustic ditty, "Jet Ski Accidents," Anderson works his playful, indie-rock mojo as he sings "Don't you think we should kiss/ While the Hüsker Dü is playing?"
The beautiful, ambiguously spiritual two-chord closer "Bless Us Now" sees Anderson at his best, pouring out his sorted soul, singing, "Something I never got to see/ It's something never I got to believe in/ I'm coming 'round for you." After a couple listens, it doesn't much matter whether he is singing about God or the girl that got away or whatever. With Something/Everything!, Anderson has delivered an album that productively uses universal rock themes to connect with his audience rather than alienate them.