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Local H: Copasetic After All These Years

Posted by June 11th, 2004 No Comments »

Graham writes about Local H at least 9 times per year.Album Review – Local H
Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?
Studio E Records
By Graham Isaac

Since he first decided that bassists and second guitarists were weak rocker’s crutches and put out the second best Local H album ever, Ham Fisted, Scott Lucas has always been a plucky contrarian. When the rest of the post-grunge Class of ’96 was turning out weepy yarls, Lucas mocked them and his own plight as a marginalized musician in songs like “Eddie Vedder” and “Back in the Day,” which were as biting as they were funny.

It’s not surprising, then, that Lucas is one of a handful of survivors from that confused and confusing era, and also that the plight of underdogs, both musical and otherwise, still rates of high concern. Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? reads like a Chuck Palahniuk-written episode of Behind the Music, teeming with acerbic rants and moments of revealing introspection, leaving plenty bloody along the way.

Graham writes about Local H at least 9 times per year.Album Review – Local H
Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?
Studio E Records
By Graham Isaac

Since he first decided that bassists and second guitarists were weak rocker’s crutches and put out the second best Local H album ever, Ham Fisted, Scott Lucas has always been a plucky contrarian. When the rest of the post-grunge Class of ’96 was turning out weepy yarls, Lucas mocked them and his own plight as a marginalized musician in songs like “Eddie Vedder” and “Back in the Day,” which were as biting as they were funny.

It’s not surprising, then, that Lucas is one of a handful of survivors from that confused and confusing era, and also that the plight of underdogs, both musical and otherwise, still rates of high concern. Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? reads like a Chuck Palahniuk-written episode of Behind the Music, teeming with acerbic rants and moments of revealing introspection, leaving plenty bloody along the way.

Sonically, Lucas and drummer Brian St. Clair kick things open a bit, adding texture to their basic “riff + hook” equation. While this is definitely a Local H album, it’s possibly the most diverse in their repertoire, alternating between lock-step garage riffing, power pop and twitchy atmospherics. They bring in classic rock influences with the “Walk On the Wild Side” reminiscent bass line to “Hey Rita!”, either the best or worst song on the disc, but definitely the most unique with its simple drumbeat and chiming organ.

The album hinges on the 11-minute “Buffalo Trace,” which brings to mind a Neil Young/Black Sabbath collaboration and climaxes with the searing space-thrash of “That’s What They All Say.” While Lucas includes many sharp-tongued barbs against the music industry, here he does a better job than ever of replacing the snide with empathy for the working class (“Dick Jones,” “Everyone Alive”) and musings on the brittle nature of relationships (“Mellowed,” “P.J. Soles”) which serve as balance to acidic rants like the Golden-State-and-hipster-hating single, “California Songs,” in which he spews “We know you love L.A./But there’s nothing left to say/So please no more California songs/And fuck New York too.” – (9/10)


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