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Local H

Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? (Studio E Records)

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Here's what happened to P.J. Soles: the once-rising starlet went from Rock 'n' Roll High School in 1979 to Stripes two years later, then to schlocky, straight-to-video "erotic" thrillers such as 2000's Mirror, Mirror IV: Reflection.

While casual music fans may think Local H has followed a similar career trajectory -- nearly a decade ago, they were all over modern-rock radio, yet nary a mainstream peep since -- the noisy Illinois guitar-drums duo has actually cranked out a handful of brawny, vitriolic, and frequently thrilling hard-rock albums. P.J. Soles continues that trend. Frontman Scott Lucas's riffs remain gritty and aggressive, and his lyrical venom is often aimed at shitty girlfriends ("Hey, Rita") or shitty bands ("Heavy Metal Bakesale"). And though he does little to shake off the long-present Cobainisms inherent in his chord progressions, raw guitar tones, and screaming, repeat-the-phrase choruses, somehow it's not all that distracting. This is another solid, engaging release. Hang onto the Soles analogy, though -- you'll need it soon for Puddle of Mudd.

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