Local H - Whatever Happened To P.J. Soles? (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Local H

Whatever Happened To P.J. Soles? (2004)

Studio E

It's late on a Saturday night. You and three of your buddies are hanging out at your friend's house flipping through the channels. You stumble upon a flick that was filmed before anyone was born, however everyone's watched it before and it holds a nostalgic value. An actor/actress pops up on the screen and everyone begs the question, "Whatever Happened to…"

The Chicago rockers Local H are asking just that, "Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?" is the title of their sixth record and first release from Studio E Recordings. The name's not ringing a bell? P.J. Soles was one of the many female stars of the silver screen in the late 70's and early 80's appearing in such classics as, "Carrie," "Halloween," and "Stripes."

It's late on a Saturday night. You and three of your buddies are hanging out at your friend's house listening to the radio. Familiar lyrics fill the room, "And you just don't get it / You keep it copasetic / And you learn to accept it / You know it's so pathetic." Everyone begs the question, "Whatever happened to Local H?"

The twosome decided to answer that question with a guitar and a set of drums. For those out of the loop, long before the White Stripes struck the modern radio waves there was another rock duo creating tolerable music in the mainstream culture. From the ashes of 90's Grunge Local H grew into popularity with their hit single "Bound for the Floor." Since then maybe a few songs by the group graced the ear drums of those who spun their dials onto alternative radio shows, but for the most part the band lost their fame.

We all know that how successful a band is isn't define by a hit jingle played every night at eight, but what's wrong with dipping your hand in the honey pot now and then? I feel with this record Local H has the ability to etch them back on modern rock radio. The album's single "California Songs" displays a sound so reminiscent of what you would have heard on the radio pre-Green Day. Upbeat jams like "Where Are They Now" and "Everyone Alive" might be the kind that restores their high marks with the big guys once again. Fueling the band with the ever-popular Garage Rock sound are "Dick Jones" and "Money on the Dresser," but they don't come across as tired or used. If the aggressive "Heavy Metal Bake Sale" doesn't get you pumped up, then there's something wrong with you. The fourteen tracks mix well and exhibit a great flow, even the ten minute song, "Buffalo Trace," is distinctive enough that it won't phase your attention span.

Is this enough to give the band another gold record? Perhaps, not everything is destined for mainstream success though. This is Local H and this is a Local H record. The group has a distinct rock/grunge/punk sound and if you've heard anything from their backlog then you know you'll be saturating your ears with a rock formula that's either a hit or a miss. As for those of you who are new, start here, this is their most diverse and finest effort thus far.