Rockin' Our Turntable: Local H
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on May 13, 2008 3:37PM
One thing that tends to get overlooked about Scott Lucas is his pure ambition. Local H's latest disc 12 Angry Months, released today, is the band's second concept album by our count, and deals with the intensely personal cycle of the demise of a major relationship and the year of fall-out that follows. It's not like break-ups are exactly unusual territory in pop music, but Lucas has the undeniable talent to take an individual experience and expand its relevance to universally touch. In that way 12 Angry Months is his strongest lyrical contribution to the Chicago rock songbook since 1998's Pack Up The Cats.
So it's fitting that the new album is also the band's strongest and most cohesive musical statement yet. Lucas still has a gift for injecting a darkly pretty melody into even the most abrasively angry guitar lines, and Brian St. Clair's drumming is both massive and tasteful. The opening track, "The One With 'Kid'," starts off the trip down the rocky path to resolution with a darkly simmering intro that explodes into an angry tirade wherein we find the protagonist demanding the return of all his old records and CDs. It might sound petty, but anyone that's actually gone through the division of goods that inevitably takes place at the end of the relationship can relate.
Later on "White Belt Boys" our narrator wishes a lonely life for the ex, berating their choice of new suitors, before crescendoing in a tumbling wall of drums supplied by three of Chicago's hardest hitting percussionist; St. Clair, Randy Payne, and Mike Zelenko. The emotional release of this screed provides the linchpin that allows the tone to shift towards a slow resolution with the orchestral "Summer Of Boats." By album's end our hero finally comes to terms with everything in the epic "Hand To Mouth," and we're left with the absence of love simultaneously existing with a hope for the future.
Through it all 12 Angry Months provides an emotional true rollercoaster of a ride for it's central character that translates outwardly to ensnare the listener in its true-to-life drama. 12 Angry Months is the near perfect album Local H has been threatening to make for years, all it took was something deeply personal to allow them to make a universal statement.
Local H plays a sold-out show at Beat Kitchen tonight to celebrate the album's release.