New York Luna Lounge

Jason Anderson can make anything into a song...

Jason Anderson can make anything into a song. The fact that he can’t really sing doesn’t matter. When he started Wolf Colonel in Portland Oregon in 1997, he already had 250 songs. After tonight’s K Records showcase, he has at least a dozen more. He says, [I]”Do you want to boogie?” [/I]then likes the sound of it, expanding the phrase into

a free-form jam which evolves, ultimately, into

an anthem. Like a small child with a water gun, he’s unstoppable.

In less talented hands, this could be an annoying habit, but Anderson somehow pulls it off. Wolf Colonel’s hybrid of straight-ahead college rock and sheer lunacy ricochets between the idiocy of Weezer and the eccentricity of Guided By Voices with unfettered ease and they escape the trappings of mere novelty because of the self-reflective, weirdly thoughtful quality of their act. They sing about how dumb rock’n’roll can be and how girls only ever fancy them when they’re onstage, but they also contemplate the role music plays as an emotional – and sometimes physical – crutch. They pluck signifiers of rock performance out of the air and expose them as empty gestures, turning their backs on the audience and holding their instruments above their heads for a photo-op, while their bass player changes hats and sunglasses between songs.

So, yeah, it’s always a danger to have tunes called ‘The Almond Gorilla’ and ‘Cookie Saucer’. It’s a fine line between the ridiculous and the sublime. Wolf Colonel, however, are treading it with nimble, if not entirely steady, feet. They are teasing punk rock with irreverence and skill – until it falls off its pedestal, giggling.

April Long