The Bottle Rockets have been a band for almost as long as I've been able to read, but I've listened to their music for the first time when reviewing South Broadway Athletic Club. It took me a little while to get the Bottle Rockets. If songs about wondering where the weekend goes, being too tired to do much when you get home, and apologizing to your long-term partner when you get into a fight (again) don't sound like the rip-roaring stuff of rock'n'roll, then you, my friend, are in the same boat as I am. It wasn't 'til I got 7 songs in -- to "Building Chryslers," about a union guy on the line who isn't invested in his work (should we really be union-bashing in this day and age, though?) -- that as real as these stories are, there's a certain tongue-in-cheek element to transforming them into barroom anthems.
Brian Henneman's Zevon-esque delivery keeps the songs precariously tipped between working class anger and objective storytelling. None of these songs have even a drip of irony (unless there's something I'm seriously missing.) Surprisingly for me -- someone who doesn't generally like happy songs -- "Big Lotsa Love," "Dog," and "Shape of a Wheel," with their hints of surprise that everything actually turned out okay, were my favorite songs on the album. Middle age might not be the most becoming on rock'n'roll, but the Bottle Rockets sure make it sound pretty great.
The Bottle Rockets -- Official, Facebook, Purchase from Bloodshot Records