CD Review of Twelve Angry Months by Local H
Recommended if you like
Toadies, Foo Fighters,
Triple Fast Action
Label
Shout! Factory
Local H:
Twelve Angry Months

Reviewed by Jeff Giles

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A
generous percentage of the most terrible records in the history of rock music have been concept albums, but as unifying concepts for albums go, collecting a dozen songs about every month in the year after a horrible breakup is a pretty fantastic idea. Enter Local H, whose sixth full-length studio album, Twelve Angry Months, does just that.

Perhaps you thought Local H had gone the way of Hum, Sponge, or any of the other alt-rock bands that popped briefly up on the national radar during the mid-‘90s, never to be heard from again – but the guitar/drums duo, led by Scott Lucas for the last two decades, has continued releasing music on a regular basis in spite of travails both commercial (the slow fade of “alternative” in favor of frat metal) and personal (original drummer Joe Daniels’ departure in 1999). The last Local H release, 2004’s Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?, earned a pile of positive reviews, and the raves are already pouring in for Twelve Angry Months.

If you haven’t been following along since they scored their hits (“Bound for the Floor” in ’96; “All the Kids Are Right” in ’98), listening to Twelve Angry Months might feel a little like lifting the lid on a chest of drawers you’ve kept locked up for a decade; the combination of throat-shredding vocals, molten metal guitars, and pop melodies that defined rock radio in the early-to-mid ‘90s is alive and well here, and sounding none the worse for wear. Lucas has always been better than most when it comes to boiling down self-pity and slacker detachment with good old-fashioned hooks, and he hasn’t lost a mile on his fastball – if you pine for the sounds of the Clinton administration, this album might send you into a coma of audio bliss.

Local H

This makes Twelve Angry Months sound like an exercise in cheap nostalgia, but it isn’t – for one thing, the cockeyed irony that permeated earlier H efforts is mostly gone here, replaced with heart-on-sleeve heartbreak. That heartbreak is channeled at full volume, of course, and expressed with lines like “And to think I used to fuck you,” but it’s undeniably honest. And clever, too: opening track “The One With ‘Kid’” tackles all the mundane division-of-property issues couples face after a breakup, including how to split up the record collection. (Chrissie Hynde fans will know where this song’s title comes from without hearing its money line: “Where’s my Pretenders record? You know the one – the one with ‘Kid.’”)

It obviously isn’t music for all occasions – the stray mid-tempo break like “Summer of Boats” notwithstanding, the album essentially moves at one speed, and if you aren’t in the mood to get aggro along with the band, then all the volume can get a little ear-numbing after awhile – but Twelve Angry Months takes everything you’ve ever felt after a breakup and stuffs it into a 52-minute nutshell. Pretty brilliant, when you get right down to it.

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