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Local H - Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?
By Keavin Wiggins

Long before Jack and Meg White made it cool to be a raw rock duo, Local H was writing the game book. When we lost Kurt in 1994, the world was ready for some new angst-fueled alternative rock and Local H delivered with their 1995 debut “Ham Fisted.” But it was their sophomore album, “As Good as Dead,” that really won over critics. 

The album’s sobering concept of a musician stuck in a nowhere town really connected with people, and the trade off of rawness and scream-along choruses helped solidify their fan base.  

The group’s third album, “Pack Up The Cats,” was just about to kick the group’s fame up a notch with the success of the single “As Good as Dead”, but just as the single was climbing the charts, the group’s label Polygram merged with Universal, and the promotion on the single was put aside while the merged label got its act together. When the dust settled, Local H found themselves without a label, which prompted drummer Joe Daniels to quit the group. 

But Scott Lucas wasn’t about to give up his dream, he hired a new drummer, Brian St. Clair, and signed a deal to deliver an album to Island Records founder Chris Blackwell’s new label “Palm Pictures”. Again timing played a part, “Here Comes the Zoo,” was greeted with open arms by critics that loved the rawness of the Nirvana influence staged against the pop sensibilities of Scott’s Cheap Trick influence—a sound that would ultimately make up the backbone of the “nu-garage” movement. Unfortunately, the album came out right before the “raw rock revolution” kicked into full swing and went pretty much unnoticed.  

That didn’t dissuade Lucas. His second and third albums eerily prophesied the path his career would take, but he wasn’t about to take that road lying down. Despite a loyal fanbase, Local H remains just under the radar, but Lucas marches forward and he isn’t about to compromise his dreams or his music. The band’s new album, “Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?,” chronicles that struggle beautifully and it crystallizes the musical formula that has been the keystone to the Local H sound since their first album. This is again a thematic album and you can guess from the title what the subject matter is. 

It’s not so much the theme of the album that makes it stand out, even among the Local H catalog, it’s the anger that really pushes it over the edge. The raw emotion in the vocals, the combustible guitars and the focused rage that beats you over the head, makes for an album you simple can’t ignore. 

Hopefully, that rage has helped Lucas come to terms with his career, and may work to his benefit in the same way that heartbreak focused the mind of Alanis and gave her the album of her career. This time around, all the piece are in place, and with an upstart Sony affiliated label behind them (Studio E, founded by former Universal VP of Artist Development, Tom Derr), Local H just might find the major success that has alluded them. Perhaps the new label will be as hungry as the band and go that extra mile to put the band where they belong. We will have to wait and see if this album breaks through the boredom that is the rock business today and makes the splash that it deserves to make. 

In the meantime, Local H continues to do no wrong by sticking to their guns and outshining even their more successful contemporaries. What happened to Local H? The business; but that hasn’t changed their focus and in fact while other bands would sell-out their sound to try and achieve commercial success, Local H remain true to themselves and their fans and keep topping themselves with each release. 



CD Info 

Local H - Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?
Label: Studio E / Sony
Rating
 
Tracks:
Where Are They Now?
Everyone Alive
California Songs
Dick Jones
Money On The Dresser
P.J. Soles
How's The Weather Down There?
Buffalo Trace
Heaven On The Way Down
Hey, Rita
Heavy Metal Bakesale
Mellowed
That's What They All Say
Halcyon Days (Where Were You Then?)
 
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online


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