Anything Could Happen

More than 20 years since the breakup of his post-Replacements project Bash & Pop, Tommy Stinson has rebooted the band and finally followed up its encouraging 1993 debut, Friday Night Is Killing Me. Anything Could Happen segues pretty seamlessly, parlaying Stinson’s songwriting into 12 appropriately rollicking tunes of barroom rock ’n’ roll. Beginning with the ’Mats-y opener “Not This Time,” Stinson’s impressively steady vocals take on a sneering quality, with blistering leads and blustery sentiment to guide the effort. “On the Rocks” could have been a B-side from Pleased to Meet Me. “Anybody Else” showcases Stinson’s swaggering inner balladeer, stretching whiskey-saturated vocals thin to croon “You can’t be anybody else to anyone.” Yes, Paul Westerberg understandably influences Stinson’s material—especially on the moody, fantastic “Can’t Be Bothered.” Yet Bash & Pop in 2017 probably sounds like it would have sounded in 1994, which is a comforting development any way you slice it. Besides, from first song to last, Anything Could Happen is one of the best rock records you’re likely to hear this year.