Pack Up The Cats (Island ’98) Rating: A-
The last thing we need right now is another second rate Nirvana, and there’s no getting around the fact that Local H sounds an awful lot like Nirvana. But the band’s strong songwriting and unpretentious, good-time personality eventually won me over, and if you’re willing to judge them on their own considerable merits they’ll probably win you over as well. The band has the fuzztone riffs, jackhammer rhythms, and coarse vocals of grunge down pat, and they play to their strengths by cranking up good grungy tunes while leaving any grander designs for other groups to tackle. Though Local H lacks Nirvana’s lyrical gravitas, they turn this into a strength and as a result make any unflattering comparison superfluous, since Nirvana would’ve never even tried to write such a mindlessly fun song as “All-Right (Oh, Yeah)” or penned a lyric like “I want to be where all the parties are, where all my friends are tending bar.” Like Nirvana, Local H writes catchy, hard-hitting melodies that also have their more subtle moments, and the album has a crisp sound that makes it easy to sing along to. I’m not quite sure what the cat motif is all about, but again at least it’s fun, and when singer Scott Lucas declares “I’m in love with rock n’ roll” it’s easy to take him at his word. To dismiss Local H as Nirvana copycats would be to judge the band on a higher level than they’ve even aspired to, sort of like writing off Badfinger for not being as good as The Beatles. Not every band can lead the way, and Badfinger was a very good band, as is Local H, a point made obvious by the consistent quality of Pack Up The Cats. Note: Considering the band's full bodied sound, it's amazing that Local H consists of a mere two members: Scott Lucas (vocals/guitar) and Joe Daniels (drums).
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