Local H - As Good As Dead (Cover Artwork)

Local H

As Good As Dead (1996)


If you don't like grunge, you won't like this band or this record, plain and simple. The Bleach-esque sound was obvious on their debut record Ham Fisted, so there is no doubt that Nirvana and countless other grunge bands influenced the multi-talented frontman Scott Lucas. Keep in mind that Local H is (the majority of the time) a 2-man act. Joe Daniels and Scott Lucas are credited in the liner notes of this record, but guest musicians and bass players would appear on later albums. Quite often you forget it's only two men, as Lucas apparently rigs his guitar with bass pickups to produce the sound of a full band, which puts stripped-down acts like the White Stripes and Death From Above 1979 to shame.

The record begins with the depressing yet captivating intro "Manifest Density Pt.1," which leads right into "High-Fiving MF." Now, this is the song that will filter out many listeners from the get go, which is too bad because they won't realize what they're missing in this band, and this record. Upon hearing this song many will ask "Is this guy for real?"; It can easily be perceived as simplistic, cheesy, repetitive and annoying, but after several listens to the record, the listener begins to understand the meaning and context of the song. If you grew up in a small town, you will understand these songs a lot better. What is this song about? Rednecks, assholes, politicians, whatever you want it to be about; bottom line is it's a middle-finger to all the egos and ignorance that one witnesses in the cocaine-fueled, truck-obsessed, get-laid-at-any-cost society. At recent live shows this song is often dedicated to George W. Bush.

Next up is the radio-friendly single, "Bound For The Floor." This song always reminds me of a long lost era which embraced depressing music; the simplistic churning guitars and vocals nod to the drudge of Alice In Chains. While it is a great song, there remains to be much better tracks on this record.

Standout tracks for wary listeners include the poppy, anti-love anthem "Lovey Dovey," the fast-paced "I Saw What You Did And I Know Who You Are," the scathing self-analysis of "Nothing Special" (one of my personal favorites), and "Freeze-Dried (F)lies" is, musically, the most pleasing to the ear.

Lucas introduces Local H's soft side with great ballads such as "No Problem" and "O.K." While the track "Eddie Vedder" delves into simple mid-tempo grunge, it proves to be one of the catchiest songs on record, poking fun at his own insignificance in the pool of life and music; Lucas asks "If I was Eddie Vedder, would you like me any better?" (this song also doubles as the title track).

The album closes with "Mainfest Density Pt. 2" (and no, it's not destiny) which leaves the (preferably stoned) listener bathing in layers of distorted guitar and a thumping bass line as Lucas chants "You're on to something good, but it can't be all that matters." Indeed, with Local H, you are onto something good...