The two-piece studio incarnation of Illinois’ Local H has an appeal to nearly every alternative genre under the sun. The grunge of As Good As Dead’s radio staple “Bound For The Floor”, the shoegaze narcissism of Whatever Happened To P.J. Soles?, an ambitious EP covering everyone from Pink Floyd to the Misfits — all phenomenal, yet mainstream presence continues to elude vocalist/permanent member Scott Lucas’ work ethic. After trading out longtime drummer and Chicago percussion favorite Brian St. Clair for Ryan Harding in the last year or so, Lucas’ songwriting became fueled strictly by fan support, while rumors circulated that his 25-year pseudo-reign in alt rock was waning. Then, Hey, Killer happened. And all was mildly copacetic, once again.
The key word here is “killer,” exchanging sparse lo-fi for plays on stoner metal riffs (“The Last Picture Show in Zion”, “Leon and the Game Of Skin”), delicate dances between prog and punk (“The Misanthrope”, “Freshly Fucked”), and a plethora of shouted verses that make listeners feel like chastised toddlers (“John the Baptist Blues”, “Mansplainer”). Local H’s three key ingredients — fuzz, enthusiasm, and sarcasm — are all taken to pissed-off extremes as the Lucas-Harding duo simultaneously plays victim and victor in a world where gritty reboots are king. Either it took the son of Zion a decade to realize he could yell at someone other than an ex-girlfriend, or he took a cue from Stroke 9, figuring a shouting match with your crowdfunding fan-base is a guaranteed win.
Hey, Killer is not the definitive Local H album, and one could be forgiven if thinking it were actually a Middle Class Rut release (particularly as the closing tracks taper into psychosis). Alternatively, Scott Lucas has proven two things: He can write a kick-ass alt metal record in his sleep, and Ryan Harding is the best thing to happen to Local H percussion since 2004’s “Heavy Metal Bakesale”. Hey, Killer doesn’t live up to ’90s fare because it isn’t the damned ’90s. However, it does lend both a loathsome and delicious permutation to their diverse catalog.
Essential Tracks: “The Last Picture Show in Zion”, “The Misanthrope”, and “John the Baptist Blues”