Parthenon Huxley had a pretty sweet job between 1987 and 1993 -- he was a contact songwriter with MCA Music Publishing, and he got to spend his work days writing tunes, recording them with first-rate musicians and getting paid for the privilege. Best of all, it appears no one was riding herd over Huxley regarding what he should be writing about, judging from Mile High Fan, a 15-song collection of Huxley's demos from the period, which includes catchy songs about heroin addiction, soaring real estate prices and urban sprawl. According to Huxley's liner notes, a number of his MCA demos became basic tracks for his first album, 1988's Sunny Nights, and the recordings collected here sure don't sound like songwriting demos -- the combo Huxley put together for these sessions evolved into his band P. Hux, and they sound professional as all get out, especially guitarist Rusty Anderson, whose Eddie Van Halen-esque Stratocaster gymnastics are certainly impressive if more than a bit overstated on several cuts, and drummer Rob Ladd, who pounds with conviction. Huxley's material here walks a tightrope between witty power pop and muscular hard rock, and the two sides don't always get along, with the guitar shredding often getting in the way of the melodic side of these recordings. But there are some good tunes here that work just fine with the band, especially "This Isn't Yesterday" and "Bazooka Joe," and Huxley's smart-ass wit is welcome throughout. Mile High Fan isn't perfect, but it's as polished and satisfying as any of Huxley or P. Hux's "real" albums, and this certainly deserved better than sitting on a shelf at some publisher's office for 13 years; Not Lame are to be commended for finally giving this music the public hearing it deserves.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming
feat: P. Hux