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As Good as Dead

Local H

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Album Review

Of the dozens of grunge (or "heavy alternative") bands that emerged in the wake of Nirvana's success, one of the few that managed anything close to Kurt Cobain's emotional resonance was Local H. Just as much of Nirvana's early material was informed by Cobain's experiences growing up as a misfit in blue-collar Aberdeen, WA, Local H's Scott Lucas spun a loose concept album out of life in Zion, IL, a dead-end town in the industrial Midwest, for the group's second disc, As Good as Dead. Though Cobain's artier ambitions added an oddball sonic undertow to his neo-Sabbath dropped chords, Lucas' tastes obviously run to meat-and-potatoes hard rock, with just enough of a melody line to give you something to hum while you bang your head. But while Lucas has the guitar (and bass) style of a rock dude, like Cobain, he has the soul of a punk rocker, albeit one growing up in a nowhere town who isn't sure how to get out. With 13 songs written in the voice of a guy who never got past the city limits, As Good as Dead is a litany of bitterness over a life that's being wasted before your very eyes, from the dumb-ass machismo of "High-Fiving MF" and the delusional nostalgia of "Back in the Day" to the self-destructive dysfunctional relationship of "No Problem" and the alcoholic self-loathing of "Fritz's Corner." Even the album's funny moments speak of disappointment and dashed hopes — in "Lovey Dovey," Lucas sounds happiest when his best friend is fighting with his girlfriend, and while the line "If I was Eddie Vedder/Would you like me any better?" cuts several ways at once, there's something in the delivery that suggests Lucas knows the answer...and doesn't want to hear it. Musically, As Good as Dead sounds just as brutal as its lyrics; while there's a graceful minor-key lyricism to quieter number like "No Problem" and "Eddie Vedder," Lucas and drummer Joe Daniels bash with an unsettling intensity on "Nothing Special" and "I Saw What You Did and I Know Who You Are." While the two sludgy slow numbers that close the album bring As Good as Dead to a disappointing conclusion, maybe it's appropriate — you can't end an album about failure on a note of triumph, and anyone who grew up in a one-paper town will doubtless wince with recognition at the bitter hopelessness of As Good as Dead.

Customer Reviews

Chicago's Best Secret

I don't know if I'm happy or not that Local H never made it big. Their one of those bands that you love so much you want to keep all to yourself. This album is amazing along with everything else they have done. If you live in Chicago area and have never seen a Local H show you've really missed out. As Good As Dead is just as good if not better than any other album to come out of the grunge rock era. Fritz's Corner, High Fiving MF, and of course Bound For The Floor are the highlights of this solid album. Do yourself a favor and buy it!

One of the Best Albums I Own

From start to finish As Good As Dead is a brillant album. Aside from the radio singles 'Bound to the Floor' 'Eddie Vedder' and 'Fritz's Corner' this album consists of even better songs such as 'No Problem' 'Freeze-Dried (F) Lies' and 'O.K.'. For the modest price of $5.99 this album should be in everyone's iTunes collection. I absolutley assure you you will enjoy it.

An underrated masterpiece!

This album is one of the best of the decade. Local H made magic with this record – it’s got solid songwriting with aggression, intelligence and sensitivity. Why they didn’t blow up after this effort I’ll never know, but if you don’t own this, buy it NOW!!!!

Biography

Formed: 1990 in Zion, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Best known for their unorthodox two-man lineup, hard rock act Local H have made a career out of straddling the fine line between indie and classic rock, cleverly framing their sardonic lyrics with a generous helping of power chords and feedback. Scott Lucas (vocals/guitar) and Joe Daniels (drums) began playing together in high school in their native Zion, Illinois. Finding a suitable bassist proved an insurmountable challenge, so the industrious Lucas eventually devised a way to install bass pickups...
Full Bio
As Good as Dead, Local H
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