The sound remains the same
By Dan Miller
Friday, December 14, 2012
If you know Local H, it’s probably from the band’s ’90s hit “Bound for the Floor,” a great angst-rock track from a decade in which crunchy guitars and anxiety ruled the airwaves.
But more than a decade later, Local H hasn’t faded into history like many bands of that era. Its seventh studio release, “Hallelujah! I’m a Bum,” is a politically themed 17-track double album that has the volume turned up just as loud as ever.
Time may not have mellowed the band’s passion, but musically it seems stuck and outdated. Frontman Scott Lucas’s gruff rocker voice has something to do with it, as does the band’s palette of surging guitar riffs and explosive drums. The duo, with Brian St. Clair on drums, is settled firmly in its hard-rock wheelhouse, venturing out only a few times.
One of those times comes on the acoustic ballad “Say the Word,” although that track swells into in an anthemic climax. And “Look Who’s Walking on All Four Legs Again” comes off as a faux country-and-western bar room novelty.
Lyrically, Lucas seems passionate and energized, if not groundbreaking. He’s at his least veiled on “They Saved Reagan’s Brain,” a stomping track that disintegrates into an indulgent, squalling jam. He sings: “Georgie wrote a book and Sarah’s naming names / Obama’s on the hook and O’Reilly’s laying blame.”
Local H’s tenacity and passion are admirable, but it would be heartening to see -- and hear -- the band pushing more boundaries.