Review Summary: With workman like efficiency, Local H continue to make clear the line between duos that "sound really good for a two piece!" and ones that make you say "Wait, are you really sure there are only two guys playing?"
What does it take to make a Local H song? The answer is not all that much. This statement might read like a slight against Scott Lucas and the various drummers that have manned the kit alongside him over years, but it's actually quite the opposite. The two-piece has released albums at a healthy rate since 1995, and they've managed to amass a respectable discography that makes up for its lack of variety with an invigorating sense of conviction to a basic formula that manages to win over and over again despite its relative scantness. It simply hasn't changed over the years- a good Local H song is generally not much more than a series of heavy guitar riffs stitched together by shouted vocal hooks and lyrics that are sneering and scathing, sarcastic and funny, and often various combinations of all of the above. The band's eighth album, "Hey, Killer" is, by and large, no exception to the precedent that has been set, and its 48 minutes of music more or less send the message that things probably aren't going to change soon- and they'll be damned if they can't convince you that's a good thing. At times the songs rely on blistering punk energy more than any sort of melodic aspirations ("City of Knives", "Freshly ***ed") but several ("One of Us", "Mansplainer") have generous offerings in their more mid-tempo pace for the more melodically inclined. Where the album really manages to shine, however, is in its longer tracks. The formula remains largely the same, but these songs feel wisely stretched out, almost as if Lucas realized their components deserved more time to breathe than the sometimes rushed-feeling counterparts. "Leon and the Game of Skin" is a real gem, more ethereal and "heady" feeling than the other songs here, and is filled to the brim with standout moments. Also deserving of a mention is "John the Baptist Blues", which should become a concert staple simply for the way it stops on a dime midway through to make way for a massive riff and solo that just might convince you you're listening to a stoner metal album- that is until the song speeds into its more punk-feeling finale. "Hey, Killer" certainly doesn't suffer from any sort of identity crisis, and it's definitely not trying to turn the music world on its head. In fact, Local H might actually be the least pretentious rock band I've ever heard, and as Scott Lucas continues to deepen his repertoire, his band might be the best proof that sometimes "the same old thing" can amount to a breath of fresh air.