Artist: Local H
Album: 12 Angry Months
by Joe Jamnitzky
It feels odd to do a Lost and Found article on an album that’s less than five years old. However, I feel this album was way overlooked from the start, and am hoping that this will at least bring it to the attention of more people. It is criminally overlooked, and the subject matter (more on that in a bit) is something that almost anybody will be able to relate to.
First, though, I have to say that I’ve always felt a little sorry for Local H. I’ve been a huge fan of them since the 90’s, when they had a few moderate hits and one major one. That major hit was “Bound For The Floor”, which everybody has a habit of calling either “Copacetic” or “Keep It Copacetic”, because of the phrase used in the chorus. They were building on the success of that when they released their third album, 1998’s Pack Up The Cats, which featured the single “All The Kids Are Right”, when the record label got swallowed up in a merger and the album all but forgotten.
That did not stop the band, though. Even the departure of drummer Joe Daniels didn’t slow them down. They were always a two piece anyway. So singer/guitarist/bassist Scott Lucas brought in drummer Brian St. Clair and plowed on, releasing albums on various smaller labels in various years, but building a very dedicated fanbase in the process, which continues to support the band even at the time of their newest release, 2012’s Hallelujah! I’m A Bum.
Now, Lucas always seems fond of doing semi-concept albums that both tend to be depressing yet truthful, while having some self-deprecating humor mixed in for good measure. Their seventh album, 12 Angry Months, has always seemed to have the most obvious concept to me out of all of them. Basically, it plays out like this: there are 12 songs, each one with a month for a subtitle, and it follows the various emotions one feels after a really, really bad breakup.
See? Depressing, yet truthful. We’ve all been through it. One of the ways to get a person to listen to the music you make is by getting them to relate to what they hear, and who can’t relate to having gone through a horrible split and having to deal with the up and down emotions of it all? At the same time, it’s hard to not chuckle or even outright laugh at lines like, “Back and forth and crazy and it’s never enough / ‘cause it’s 24 hours of breaking up” (from “24 Hour Break-Up Session”), or “Oooh, it’s a tragedy / so completely, it’s almost Greek / And if I was to be hard pressed / I’d lie and say I could not care less” (from “White Belt Boys”). It’s not because it’s funny though; it’s because of how close to home stuff like that hits.
The music, as is usual for Local H, is straight up rock, with some acoustic numbers thrown in for good measure. This is important to note, though, because had it been nothing but straight rock, the album wouldn’t have the same impact. By throwing in a few acoustic tracks and build-ups (especially on the positively epic closer, “Hand To Mouth”), we get to feel anger, loss, sadness, and everything that comes with a breakup; the songs are all catchy in some way, though, allowing things to keep from getting too morose. After all, breakups are bad enough as they are. Extra mention should be made for the album opening and closing with the same acoustic guitar phrase; while nothing new (many bands have done it), it makes the album feel that much more relatable, as if we truly started at the beginning of a year and in 12 songs came to the end, while feeling everything possible in between.
Many bands have made breakup albums, and many more will. Few, though, have made ones that are so truthful, so close to home, so amusing, and so able to speak to almost everybody without making them thoroughly depressed. After all, we need something we can relate to when we go through a split, and this album has all of it.
In closing, if you say, or anybody says to you, during a disintegrating relationship, that they wish someone understood how they felt, give them this album to listen to. They’ll never have to say those words again.