Album review | ROCK

The Bottle Rockets, ‘South Broadway Athletic Club’

For two decades, the Bottle Rockets have been the best rock band no one has heard. The St. Louis group, still led by bard Brian Henneman, has flown under the radar while chronicling the struggles and joys of blue-collar America. This 11th album is slighter than the group’s finest records yet there are enough emotionally true narratives here brimming with soul and bruised wisdom. Producer Eric Ambel once again trusts the fine songwriting and strips the music down. Henneman is less political this time, instead allowing the details of everyday existence to reflect larger truths. “Dog” is a sly metaphor for loving life’s little pleasures (and yes, dogs), and “Big Lotsa Love” peels back the tensions and contradictions of love while acknowledging its necessity. The dual-guitar powder keg “Building Chryslers” recalls vintage Rockets: noisy, trenchant, and uniquely American. KEN CAPOBIANCO

ESSENTIAL “Building Chryslers”


The Bottle Rockets play Atwood’s Tavern Oct. 8.

Ken Capobianco can be reached at franznine@live.com.