Published Oct 21, 2015When they appeared in the early '90s, the Bottle Rockets quickly joined the forefront of the burgeoning Americana scene alongside such peers as Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown. In fact, Uncle Tupelo's Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar sang backups on 1993's eponymous Bottle Rockets debut.
Under the steady hand of singer/guitarist/main man Brian Henneman, they've continued to put out highly entertaining roots-rock albums (their discography is now in double figures). Lyrically and musically, they've never aimed as high as peers like Wilco or the Drive-By Truckers, but Henneman's blue-collar odes have always contained real wit and intelligence under the seemingly simplistic surface.
New album South Broadway Athletic Club is no exception. Song titles like "Big Lotsa Love," "Big Fat Nuthin'" and "I Don't Wanna Know" show that he's not chasing a Pulitzer, but Henneman is something of a barroom bard. "Big Fat Nuthin'" is a tribute to laziness ("I'm off the clock and off my feet"), while the jaunty "Dog" has this great line: "If my dog don't love you, that's okay, I don't want him to, he's my dog." The Crazy Horse side of the band is cranked up on the fuzzy, guitar-driven "Building Chryslers," a convincing portrait of a careless assembly line worker, while "Ship It On The Frisco" is a laidback and bluesy treat.
This is likely not an album to give their career an extra boost, but one that'll surely keep loyal fans happily on board the Rockets' ride. (Bloodshot)