"Whatever Happened To P.J. Soles?"

Score: 8 (of 10)

You remember that person; you know the one that starred in that show and those films, whatever happened to…? It’s a question that gets asked often enough. Actors will appear in a few films, seemingly on the track towards Hollywood stardom, then seemingly drop off of the face of the planet.

P.J. Soles, starred in films such as “Carrie,” “Halloween,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” and “Stripes;” all big films in the late 1970s and early 1980s. But since then has tapered off in her acting popularity. Local H, landed on the radar of rock fans with their hit “Bound For The Floor” in 1996, then seemingly disappeared from popular music.

Now the Chicago two-piece is back with their ironically titled album, Whatever Happened To P.J. Soles? This 14-song album is their first release for Studio E Records, and their fifth studio album to date. The album also marks the second release to feature Brian St. Clair, who replaced original Local H drummer Joe Daniels after he left the band.

From the fast guitar and driving beats, to Scott Lucas’ vocals, the few songs of the album sound disturbingly like older songs by the Offspring. As the album plays on though, it becomes more experimental, more original sounding. The title track is a down tempo, lamenting ode, featuring a catchy keyboard intro.

By far the track that stands out the most on the album though is “Buffalo Trace.” The song is over 10 minutes in length, and not a second too long. The sound comes off as a mix of Rage Against The Machine, Queens of the Stone Age (not much of a surprise as Queens’ guitarist Joshua Homme was a guest on Local H’s previous album), along with a bit of Pink Floyd, and some jazzy horns.

Overall: The second half of the album, when Local H experiments with various sounds, comes off as much stronger than the first half, making for an interesting listen.

02/24/2004 Graham Bailey