The first tune on Local H’s new Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? delivers a “Hello There”–by–Cheap Trick–style rant updated and angry for 2004. Then “Everyone Alive” crashes in with a crunching garage riff souped-up in the studio, and if that were all Local H could deliver, it would still make the album.
As it is, the guys never answer the album-title question. But they do supply something that can be roughly and enjoyably split into two listening parties. The first half runs over the listener best, even when not trying—in “California Songs,” which features a good Dexter Holland imitation, and “Dick Jones,” the latter probably fondly named after the character Ronnie Cox played in Robocop.
More loud rock ensues for “Money on the Dresser,” and the title tune is a stalker’s lament that blends with the CD cover’s vaguely poisonous photos, taken at crotch level, of a P.J. Soles stand-in. Or is it actually the woman, incognito? And what does the bubblegum balloon mean? It looks like a big pink teat!
The album’s second half, recommended as “retro” by the guys in Local H, is swooshy psyche-dreams as maybe done by the Pink Floyd heavy metal marching band. The Illinois duo might also be aiming at Alan Parsons territory, except with stopovers in comedy thrash and a dry send-up of Nirvana; just in time for all the knee-jerk worship, on the decade anniversary of the death of Kurtman.