- 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.
H - Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?
E / Sony
Where Are They Now?
Money On The Dresser
How's The Weather Down There?
Heaven On The Way Down
Heavy Metal Bakesale
That's What They All Say
Halcyon Days (Where Were You Then?)
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