When you think of St. Louis-based alt rock/country hybrid The Bottle Rockets, high tech is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. For the past few decades, they’ve been happily, thankfully, living in the past, bringing to mind everyone from early Skynard (aka, the only Skynard that really matters) to Bobby Bare and Merle Haggard. But on their 13th album, Bit Logic, the band is feeling a bit more modern.
“We were not planning any kind of theme to this album, but one kind of showed up,” said singer/guitarist Brian Henneman recently. “If it’s anything at all, it’s an album about existing in this modern world. Trying to dodge depression and anger.”
And man, there’s plenty to be depressed and angry about these days, but The Bottle Rockets stick to the day-to-day annoyances for the most part, from the title track about how things just seemed easier without all of the modern “conveniences” of technology, to “Highway 70 Blues,” about shitty drivers. All are great tracks, but they are at their most cleaver on the fantastic “Bad Time To Be An Outlaw,” about how hard it can be to pay the bills when you’re playing music that’s just not as popular as Carrie Underwood.
Elsewhere, on the surprisingly sentimental “Saxophone,” the band is stretching its already impressive sound and showing real depth. The Bottle Rockets prove album after album that they are easily the best thing to come out of St Louis.