Review Summary: Local H's third record, while not very known, is a very satisfying and enjoyable listen. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys late-90's alternative.
Every once in a while, there will be a musical artist that will release a song or an album that becomes relatively popular. Sometimes so popular that they almost end up becoming superstars. Sometimes, however, that fame does not last, and the artist will eventually fade to obscurity. Most of the time it's due to the fact that their follow-up material was not as successful as their more recognizable release. Artists who've had these events happen to them are usually called "one-hit wonders".
Meet Local H.
Local H are a hard rock/alternative band that originated from Zion, Illinois in 1987, back when they were still in high school. They originally had about 4 or 5 members, but by 1993, it shrunk down to guitarist Scott Lucas and drummer Joe Daniels. In 1993, Island records signed them with a six-album deal and the duo released their debut record, Ham Fisted
, in 1995 with commercial failure. However, there 1996 follow-up, As Good as Dead
, was much more successful due to catchy singles such as "Bound for the Floor" and "Eddie Vedder". For a brief moment, Scott and Joe became moderate rock stars, touring around the US and having their songs in rotation on both radio stations and MTV (This was back when people actually watched TV and listened to radio stations). In 1998, Local H released Pack Up the Cats
, which is one of their best records, even to this day.
You see, all of Local H's LPs were conceptual albums that dealt with very relatable subjects, from dealing with a very nasty breakup to trying to make a name for yourself. Pack Up the Cats
is no different. This record tells a story of an unnamed man, (who we will call "Lucas"), who becomes a very famous musician, however, as time goes on, he becomes very egotistical. What I like the most about the album is that it plays out like a movie, a movie that does not take itself too seriously.
The album starts off with "All Right (Oh, Yeah)", which acts like the title theme. It's very catchy and it gets you excited for the rest of the album. The next track, "'Cha!' Said the Kitty", reveals what is, essentially, the B-story, Lucas' relationship with his girlfriend. Over time, Lucas becomes a huge rock star, but due to constant tours and self-indulgence, the girlfriend becomes very lonely and very angry towards Lucas. After these first two tracks, we get "Lucky", which is just a 50-second filler track that, quite frankly, has no purpose. That's a flaw with this album: The filler tracks like "500,000 Scovilles" and "Lead Pipe Cinch". They're this album's equivalent to commercials that air every other 10 minutes when you watch a movie on TV, it's just annoying than anything else.
Tracks like "Cool Magnet" and "Hit the Skids", however, are some personal favorites because they show the record's humor; "Cool Magnet" is about how Lucas spends almost all of his time partying with people who only care about him for his fame, (and is told through a very snarky point of view), and "Hit the Skids", which shows how Lucas basically sells out with his music so he could become more well-known because of it.
Eventually we reach "All the Kids are Right", a song about Lucas' downfall. In this track, he plays a full concert completely drunk. Because of that, all of the viewers go online and downright trash him, essentially calling him an idiot. This, in turn, completely ruins his credibility, eventually causing album and ticket sales to drop, making him an one-hit wonder. But, by the end, ("Lucky Time"), we see Lucas accepting his defeat, getting back together with his girlfriend, and learning that life does not go your way all the time. It's actually both a heartfelt and satisfying ending to a really great album like this.
Sadly, the real-life ending to this album's release is not very happy. Shortly after this record's release, Polydor, the parent company to Island records, merged with Universal, meaning advertising Pack Up the Cats were the last thing on everybody's mind. Due to that, album sales flopped and Local H were not popular anymore. Local H left Island soon after and Joe left the group in 1999. Scott Lucas recruited Brain St. Clair and Local H released 4 albums and a few EP's in that line-up. Brain left in 2013 and was replaced by Ryan Harding. The duo are still around to this day and still recording music and doing tours.