Lean Forward, the eighth studio album from the Bottle Rockets, isn't a greatest hits collection, though it often seems hell-bent on convincing you otherwise — front-loaded with the sing-along urgency, rhythmic oomph, and doubled and tripled guitar hooks that form the band's inimitable signature. The album delights in self-deprecating humor, lays bare the triumphs and failures of the working class, seethes quietly against the toll of war, shines with warm country pop and uncaps the headers on the kind of car songs Chuck Berry himself would be proud to call his own. More than fifteen years since lighting out from Festus, Missouri, the Bottle Rockets have never rocked harder or more true to themselves. The band remains the gold standard for rock & roll survivors.
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