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Bottle Rockets

24 Hours a Day – 1997 (Atlantic)

Reviewed by Eric Zehnbauer

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CDs by Bottle Rockets

The Bottle Rockets are ready to shake off the pigeonholing label of alt.-country and be recognized for what they really are - good old rock'n'roll, drawing on a number of influences, including country. These influences all contribute to an irresistably rollicking feeling. Perhaps bandleader Brian Henneman describes his music best, coining it "sideburn rock."

"Kit Kat Clock" sets the foot-stomping tone for the album, while the chunky, funky beats of the title track and "Waitin' On A Train" recall the blues-rockin' style of Foghat, Lynyrd Skynyrd or ZZ Top. The Rockets are a throwback to the '70's, while being entirely fresh at the same time.

The freshness is largely due to the sharp lyrics, highly descriptive yet simple, replete with local references while maintaining a universal appeal, alternately humorous and poignant. Especially humorous is "Slo Toms," about a local dive of a bar that could be any of a thousand hometowns. Country fans will love the somber ballads "Smokin' 100s Alone" and "One of You," serving notice these guys know their country music roots quite well, thank you. "Rich Man" has a strong Appalachian folk song feel, and "Turn For The Worse" sounds Cajun-y. But these guys are best when they turn the wattage up and churn out gutsy, butt-kickin', roadhouse rock'n'roll.