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Album Review: Local H, Twelve Angry Months

A concept album is an ambitious venture for any band; thinking of a worthy idea is difficult enough, and then there’s the matter of producing an entire album’s worth of quality material that is thematically cohesive. It seems like there’s an endless supply of artists lined up to be the next Pink Floyd or The Who, but the albums that are produced in this arena tend to range from “bad” to “laughably bad.”

For these reasons, I was already rolling my eyes when I heard the idea behind the new Local H album. Twelve Angry Months features twelve songs detailing the entire year that follows a breakup. To me, it simply isn’t an impressive notion. However, Local H delivers on several levels, and while the finished product is far from great, it is at least decent.

Aside from being known as Illinois’ premier rock duo, Local H also deserves acclaim for being one of about three grunge acts to outlast the Clinton administration. Now, more than twenty years after the band’s inception, singer/guitarist Scott Lucas and drummer Brian St. Clair are still doing what they do best: rocking walls down with crunchy guitar chops, aggressive vocals, and the whole package of grungy goodness.

“BMW Man” is a standout track that features a catchy guitar riff with generous helpings of distortion, and Lucas takes an angry lyrical approach that would certainly make your grandmother frown.

Likewise, “24 Hour Break-Up Session” presents a chance to unleash your inner head-banger with mellow verses that transition into belligerent choruses. St. Clair pounds away, Lucas continues to layer on the distortion, and the spirit of Kurt Cobain nods in approval.

Despite the steadfast dedication to the grunge sound, Local H does offer a small amount of variation. “The Summer of Boats” is a slow, melodic song about the post-relationship process of moving on, and Scott Lucas does a good job of not only easing up with his guitar, but also giving his vocal chords a break. “Simple Pleas” is another softer, more serene track that reminds us of Local H’s occasional fondness for poppiness (who could forget the 2005 cover of Britney Spears “Toxic?”).

Aside from these few songs, however, Twelve Angry Months is a bit predictable. The whole album chugs along at a fairly uniform tempo, and the lyrical content gets a pretty stale somewhere around track eight. Lets face it… you can only write so many breakup songs. Unfortunately, the album essentially turns into a list of emotions that one might feel after ending a relationship: anger, bitterness, desperation, repeat.

Twelve Angry Months is a good pickup for dedicated grunge fans and people who are really angry most of the time. Other than that, Local H’s latest is still worth a listen, but I’d say it’s an album best taken in small doses.

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