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The Bottle Rockets
Bloodshot Records

The Bottle Rockets have long been known for their blend of blue collar social commentary and tongue-in-cheek humor. Their latest, Zoysia, is no exception. Steeped in the southern fried rock of '70s bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Crazy Horse, Zoysia finds the band ruminating on everything from lost love to the current US political and cultural climate with ease. The opening "Better Than Broken" is the ironic tale of a man on the rebound that combines a melody reminiscent of Wilco with hard rock guitars, while the politically charged arena rocker "Middle Man" finds the band pondering the fate of America's "company men." "I Quit" is a rousing southern blues number with soul backing vocals, while "Happy Anniversary" has the sweeping, anthemic feel of Skynyrd in its heyday. "Blind" brings a marked shift in the album's flow, with its old school country instrumentation and heavier lyrics about tolerance. "Mountain To Climb" is a fairly straightforward rocker that is at once melodic and heavy. The Jethro Tull-inspired "Align Yourself" is the high point of the album, however. A fuzz-vox diatribe against the post-modern tendency to apply labels to everyone and everything, "Align Yourself" marks the most adept social and political commentary in the Bottle Rockets' repertoire to date. "Suffering Servant" is another all-out rocker - this time about lost love - while "Feeling Down" and "Where I'm From" are the least rock tracks on the album. The former features pedal steel and acoustic melody and '60s harmonies, while the latter is a tender, predominantly acoustic country-folk song about lead singer Brian Henneman's hometown. The closing title track is another southern fried barn burner with lyrics about middle American conformity and soaring guitar riffs. With its blend of poignant irony and literate, homespun tales, Zoysia is an apt tribute and critique to The Bottle Rockets' Missouri roots.

- Tracy M. Rogers

Track List:
1. Better Than Broken
2. Middle Man
3. I Quit
4. Happy Anniversary
5. Blind
6. Mountain to Climb
7. Align Yourself
8. Suffering Servant
9. Feeling Down
10. Where I'm From
11. Zoysia

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