The Bottle Rockets: Brand New Year

Brand New Year (Doolittle)

Record Reviews

The Bottle Rockets

Brand New Year (Doolittle)

Tube-top Tammys riding atop the shoulders of mustached heshers, Jack Daniels bottles and Bic lighters raised in the air, dudesicles with three-foot bongs in the trunks of their Camaros. The Doolittle debut from Festus, Missouri's pride and joy finds the Bottle Rockets mining familiar territory: Bad Company, ZZ Top, Crazy Horse, and other various Southern rock outfits. There's even a hard-edged echo of the Byrds. "Nancy Sinatra" is a lustful ode to the Sixties pop icon and her go-go boots, while "The Bar's on Fire," with the Homer Simpson-like cry, "Oh my God the bar's on fire -- somebody save the beer," calls to mind the whipcrack sound of Skynyrd at their best. "White Boy Blues," a jab at rich yuppie types with expensive vintage guitars and Buddy Guy fetishes, calls to mind Bad Co's "Shooting Star." Chief knob-twister Eric Ambel brings a Big Rock Production sound that matches the CD's material, and even though their hard-rock bluster can almost be cheesy at times, the group's dead-on, salt of the earth observations of life cut through the brie every time. Thematically, Brand New Year isn't a real happy album, but glum lyrics are always offset by a tongue-in-cheek attitude. The Bottle Rockets conjure up images of outdoor rock festivals and Volunteer Jams past, probably to the chagrin of roots-rock/alt-country purists, but then nobody said that's necessarily a bad thing.

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