Review Summary: Scott Lucas and Joe Daniels certainly aren't a "one-trick pony in a one horse town", not even close.
Fact is, a lot of us live in the suburbs. With this in mind, a lot of us (from my knowledge at least) despise it and blame it for a lot of our miseries. I’m not even trying to be facetious when I say this, but it’s true. We all toil our lives day by day wishing for a life more glamorous and profound than the one we live in the suburbs. I find that writing reviews is a medium or escape from the suburbs, a result of the boredom. But you must be wondering:
What does this have to do with anything?
Enter Local H into this theme. Local H is a two-piece band consisting of singer/bassist/guitarist/songwriter Scott Lucas and drummer Joe Daniels, and As Good as Dead
expresses these notions of boredom, apathy, and restlessness that dominates suburban life but also does so in a humorous fashion. Fittingly, the pair hails from the small town of Zion, Illinois, an industrial town in the Midwest. As Good as Dead
is a funny, bitter and superb album by a band cemented into the notion of ‘nobodies’. Indeed, the band’s apathy and sadness is even apparent in the music as Scott Lucas’ trademark yelps of agony soon transcend into wailing that give the music some serious passion. This is where the strength of As good as Dead
lies. No matter how much of a stuck-up snob you are, one can’t help but agree and connect with the perspective of As good as dead
, no matter which walk of life he/she comes from.
You also must be wondering something else; how does a two-piece create a hard rock and stadium sized sound all by themselves? Well, somehow Scott Lucas does it quite well with the use of special pick-ups that deliver the sound of a bass guitar and the normal pick-ups of a guitar. With this out of the way, the dogma of a “standard rock band” line-up still remains. But this doesn’t provide an obstacle for Local H, it only makes their triumph that more astounding. Cuts including the delusional and nostalgic of “Back in the Day” and head banging machismo of “High-Fiving MF” features musicianship that is as tight, hard-hitting and impressive for a regular 3 piece let alone a two-piece. Scott Lucas proves to be quite the accomplished song-writer as well which is apparent in the variety of the record. Local H smashes out with intensity on “I Saw What You Did and I Know Who You Are”, “Nothing Special” and the aforementioned “Back in the Day” which starts out with a quick and impressive bassline and leads directly into Scott Lucas’ agonizingly sincere screams. But then the band turns the head of the record completely on the sludgy “O.K.” and “Manifest Destiny Pt. 2” and the heartfelt and insanely catchy “Bound to the Floor” and “Eddie Vedder”.
Lyrics, for a lot of bands, feed off the music. Local H’s formula is the opposite in this regard. In many instants the music seems to carry the emotion conveyed in the lyrics and propels it even further. Even when the band tries to be funny there still remains a taste of cynicism and self-hating. The self-loathing of “Fritz’s Corner” and even the poking-fun of “Lovey Dovey” give off a sense of disappointment and dashed hopes. Lucas sings his heart out on lyrical centerpiece “Nothing Special” which talks of Lucas’ lack of ability in a “one-horse town” and encapsulates the themes of “As good as Dead” quite well. Aptly, the album’s highlights are the radio-hits “Eddie Vedder” and “Bound to the Floor”. “Bound to the Floor” contains an easy and catchy groove, one that can get any barber-shop employees tapping their feet. Born to be down/I’ve learned all my lessons before now/Born to be down/I think you’ll get used to it/And you just don’t get it/You keep it copasetic /And you learn to accept it/You know its so pathetic
Lucas sings with a subdued vocal delivery, until he lets his heart spill to the floor towards the end of the song once the music is taken to the next gear. Even with the sarcastic questioning If I was Eddie Vedder /would you like me any better?
the vocal delivery suggests that there is more depth to the question. An answer unfulfilled or unacknowledged.
While the two sludgy numbers that end “As good as dead” are a bit disappointing and mundane they somehow seem fitting with the underlying theme of the album. If Lucas is going to share his pain with us, why not integrate this pain and disappointment into the listener? But Scott Lucas and Joe Daniels triumph in what they know how to do most, and that is music and they certainly aren’t a “one-trick pony in a one horse town”, not even close.