South Broadway Athletic Club

The Bottle Rockets

Bloodshot Records, 2015

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Now two decades into their career and a dozen albums deep, the St. Louis legends The Bottle Rockets continue to impress with their timeless approach to blue collar, rugged rock 'n' roll. Not surprisingly, universal themes of impending bills, infidelity and the love of dogs are explored. Meanwhile, frontman Brian Henneman's gritty vocals fit perfectly with guitar driven rock that spans from country-esque to fuller, charged bar rock.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Recorded over a period of months, the band took their time compared to earlier work and it shows. The meticulous songwriting and careful attention to each track makes this collection a career highlight and an ideal place for the first time listener, and, or course, a great extension of their catalog for fans who have been along for the whole ride.

This 12th album starts off with "Monday (Everytime I Turn Around),” a warm, country-inspired bar room rocker that runs parallel with the greatness achieved by bands like Wilco or The Jayhawks. “Big Lotsa Love” and “I Don't Wanna Know” follow, with a fuller Southern rock feel, before the acoustic moments of the thumping “Big Fat Nuthin'.” The aptly titled “Dog” is one of the most memorable tunes here, with simple lyrics about the love of a dog, while musically it's just as universal with a classic rock jangle and irresistible guitar work.

On the second half, the thick, fuzzy guitars of the working class anthem “Building Chryslers” sounds like a mix of '90s alt-rock with alt-country before the volume comes down for the perfect, warm acoustic strumming of “Smile.” “XOYOU” finds the band getting playful and danceable on a clever tune, before the bluesy, soulful “Ship It On The Frisco.” The album exits on a track that illustrates their sound perfectly – warm, intricate, easily embraceable rock 'n' roll with a rustic and genuine quality.

It's really too bad that The Bottle Rockets never achieved the notoriety of their peers from the early days of alt-country, specifically Uncle Tupelo, who were from the same scene and cut from the same cloth as The Bottle Rockets. Despite their lack of commercial success, The Bottle Rockets continue on as they always have, capable at any time of writing album of the year material like this.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2015 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Bloodshot Records, and is used for informational purposes only.