Always melodic, never mundane, "Zoysia," the latest CD from Festus, Mo.'s The Bottle Rockets, finds the band adding political commentary to its usual humorous blue-collar anecdotes and anti-love songs. The result is an expansive Southern rock masterpiece that is both literate and homespun, with touches of irony throughout.
The first four tracks' "Better Than Broken," "Middle Man," "I Quit" and "Happy Anniversary"' harken back to the Seventies' heyday of Lynyrd Skynyrd. "Middle Man" is a particularly hard-edged political rocker about the underappreciated "company man," while "Happy Anniversary" is a sweeping, Southern-fried lost love narrative.
The remainder of the CD finds the band experimenting with its own brand of old-school country with the twangy, sarcastic "Blind" and the harmonious, largely acoustic "Feeling Down."
With its blend of hard rock and timely, incisive lyrics, "Zoysia" should appeal to those in red and blue states alike.
- Tracy M. Rogers