Bottle Rockets

(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Bottle Rockets , 6.5/10
The Brooklyn Side , 6/10
24 Hours A Day , 5/10
Leftovers , 5/10
Brand New Year , 4/10
Blue Sky (2003), 4/10
Zoysia (2006) , 5/10
Lean Forward (2009), 5/10

Brian Henneman played with Uncle Tupelo before he started recording with his own band, the Bottle Rockets, an eccentric bunch from Missouri who fuse the rowdiness of saloons with the open-space pride of the prairies.

Bottle Rockets (East Side Digital, 1993) is an entertaining, if not amusing, carousel of dirty boogie (Every Kinda Everything), lamenting country & western (Trailer Mama), boisterous garage-rock, and psychedelic guitar distortions. It may not be a coincidence that pathos peaks with Kerosene, that sounds like Neil Young.

The Brooklyn Side (East Side Digital, 1994 - Atlantic, 1995) is just a tad more compromised with mainstream rock (especially in the unusually melodic I'll Be Coming Around) but still rests firmly on noisier ground (1000 Dollar Car, Sunday Sports).

On 24 Hours A Day (Atlantic, 1997) the two souls of the band coexist peacefully: 24 Hours A Day is a raw boogie, whereas Things You Didn't Know is another Neil Young-ian lament. When I Was Dumb, Indianapolis and Smokin' 100's Alone reiterate Henneman's stories of rebellion and loneliness for a much broader audience.

Leftovers (Doolittle, 1998) collects songs that should have been their next album. The same schizophrenia divides them into country-rock ballads (Get Down River, Skip's Song, Chattanooga) and saloon rockers (Romance, If Walls Could Talk). Again, the most mournful track may be the most memorable: My Own Cadillac.

Brand New Year (Doolittle, 1999) is the weakest album of the band. Nancy Sinatra is a funny boogie and Let Me Know is a pensive ballad, but on both fronts the band sounds distracted and uninspired.

Songs Of Sahm (Bloodshot, 2002) is a tribute to Doug Sahm.

The Bottle Rockets proved a talented gang of eccentrics, the most sincere photographers of the American province (both in the lyrics and in the sounds), but managed to excel at the most heartfelt blue-collar stories.

Blue Sky (Sanctuary, 2003) is a collection of filler with one good song, the catchy honky-tonking Lucky Break.

Zoysia (Bloodshot, 2006) and Lean Forward (Bloodshot, 2009) were dignified populist collections whose only drawback was that they outlasted their welcome.

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