The Bottle Rockets | South Broadway Athletic Club (Bloodshot)

Musically, the album continues in the Neil Young-turned-cowpunk sound that fans of Drive-By Truckers or 20th century Wilco know so well.

 

 

 

They may be closing in on a quarter century as a band, but there’s nothing old or tired about this latest album from the pride of Festus, Mo., the band’s first in six years. With South Broadway Athletic Club, singer-guitarist Brian Henneman and company offer up a sprightly 36-minute slab of everyman tales set to countrified Southern rock and Byrdsian jangle pop. Like most of the Bottle Rockets’ output, this is a paean to the simple joys of rural Midwestern life, whether it’s working for the weekend (“Monday (Everytime I Turn Around)”), a beloved pet (“I love my dog, he’s my dog/ If you don’t love my dog, that’s OK/ I don’t want you to, he’s my dog,” from “Dog”), or even just sitting on one’s ass for a well-deserved rest (“Right now I’m not tired, I’m tahred” Henneman drawls on “Big Fat Nuthin’”), all delivered in Henneman’s trademark twang. Musically, the album continues in the Neil Young-turned-cowpunk sound that fans of Drive-By Truckers or 20th century Wilco know so well. The Neil Young influence in particular raises to the forefront on the acidic snarl and Crazy Horse crunch or “Building Chryslers” and “Big Lotsa Love,” whose intro sounds like the riff from “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” turned sideways. It’s a vein the band has mined since the very beginning—everything here would have fit in just fine on the band’s 1992 debut, even if the guitars jangle a bit more than they crunch these days—but the years of experience result in ear-pleasing craftsmanship rather than journeyman rocker boringness. “Day to day, I find a way to give a new angle a spin,” Henneman sings on the album closer “Shape of a Wheel.” “I roll with the punches, I roll with the wind/ I’m a wheel, no matter what shape I’m in.” Long may he and his band roll on. A | Jason Green

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